Namcor Chevron deal sparks worry

Martin Endjala and Ester Mbathera

Political analyst, Stephanus Pombili has cautioned the Namibian government against doing business with United States-based oil giant, Chevron.

This comes after Namcor signed a farm-out agreement with Chevron Namibia Exploration Limited (CNEL), a subsidiary of Chevron Global Energy Inc. on Monday.

“It is very dangerous to involve our trade with the warmongering USA. Since 2012, the US Navy has been visiting Namibia’s ports. In recent years, the USS Hersel Woody Williams arrived in Namibia in 2021 and returned in 2022. By 2020, the United States injected US$300 million into constructing their embassy,” he said

He is of the opinion that if Namibia does not choose its trade partners carefully, the recent offshore oil discoveries could become a curse to the nation.

“I believe Namibia must carefully choose its oil trading partners before it becomes a curse on our land. In 1884, during the Berlin Conference and the scramble for Africa, Leopold II was among those who called for the conference. Now, with Prince Philippe and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar is here and Namibia’s leaders must be cautious,” he said.

The agreement between Namcor and Chevron will see CNEL acquire an 80 percent working interest in Petroleum Exploration License 82 (PEL 82), situated in Namibia’s prolific offshore Walvis Basin.

NAMCOR and Custos Energy will each retain a 10 percent carried interest.

NAMCOR’s interim managing director, Ebson Uanguta said the collaboration underscores the company’s commitment to enhancing the exploration potential and development of the offshore resources.

“NAMCOR and its partners look forward to closing this transaction and continuing their partnership with Chevron,” said Uanguta.

He added that the partnership will further look at exploration activities within the Walvis Basin and support the sustainable development of Namibia’s energy sector.

He stated that the transaction is subject to applicable regulatory approvals from the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Uanguta explained that the collaboration marks a pivotal moment in Namibia’s oil and gas industry and is aligned with NAMCOR’s strategic objectives to facilitate the exploration and sustainable development of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.

Many took to social media to express their worries about the deal.

Former liberation fighter, Mihe Gaomab said the agreement is worrisome.

“This whole thing is worrisome. It is high time that the Parliament of Namibia intervenes and sets up an Oil, Gas and Energy Council which will have oversight on these sell-out transactions. We must wake up, this country is being cut into pieces,” he said.

According to him, parliament must cancel all future contracts between the government, Namcor and International Oil Companies.

“Remove all signing rights from the Minister and Namcor. The Parliament has powers to do so, they are just sleeping!” he said.

Meanwhile, Namibia Local Business Association (NALOBA) president Erastus Shapumba has called on mines and energy minister, Tom Alweendo to publicly retract his statement that ‘Namibins should not feel entitled to oil and gas as natural resources but rather urge them to work hard and compete’.

Shapumba said the statement has exposed and embarrassed all the Namibian people to the foreign investors.

“This Statement is not only cursing but threatening, unpatriotic, embarrassing and insulting to the entire Namibian nation. Before anything, every Namibian is entitled to their country’s Natural Resources and the Provisions are made very clear in the Laws of the Republic,” he said.

NALOBA has given Alwendo seven days to retract his remarks.

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