Namibia ready for energy investors

Niël Terblanché

Over the past year, Namibia has rapidly emerged as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the oil and gas industry worldwide.

The accelerated focus on Namibia was brought about by two major oil discoveries made – the Venus and Graff-1 wells – in 2022 by Shell, Total Energies and Qatar Energy. The discoveries were rated as some of the highest value finds globally.

Earlier this year, Shell announced a third discovery at its Jonker-1X well which revealed the substantial potential that still lies in Namibia’s offshore oil exploration fields also known as basins.

These discoveries have not only accelerated the drive by major energy and petroleum players but have attracted a slate of new explorers to the Namibian market.

Besides the discovery of oil, billions of dollars worth of green hydrogen projects were launched and created suites of multi-industry project developments that currently represent some of the defining features of Namibia’s energy sector.

In this regard, Namibia, eager to maintain this growth momentum will host the fifth edition of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) in Windhoek later in April.

The organisers of the event on their website said that the conference, slated for 25 to 27 April, will unite policymakers, industry heads, global investors and energy experts for three days of dialogue, serving as the premier forum where new deals can be signed and best practices shared.

Following on from four successful editions that preceded it, this year’s NIEC event will take place under the theme, ‘Shaping the Future of Energy Towards Value Creation’.

The organisers of the event stated that discussions will be led by regional energy ministers, which will include Tom Alweendo, the Minister of Mines and Energy of Namibia. Alweendo, aside from participating in high-level discussions, is set to officially open the conference.

The energy minister will be joined by, amongst others, Kornelia Shilunga, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Namibia; Jose Barroso, Secretary of State for Oil and Gas, Angola; Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General, of the African Petroleum Producers Organization; and Antonio Oburu Ondo, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea.

Other high-level executives from the African Energy Chamber, Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Petroleum Corporation (NAMCOR), Shell, Chevron and Rand Merchant Bank will also participate.

Since the discovery of oil in the past additional big names in the international energy industry have expressed interest in die exploration and development of energy resources in Namibia.

These include ExxonMobil, who has also extended its acreage in Namibia following an agreement signed with Namcor for Blocks 1711 and 1811A while French independent operator, Maurel and Prom announced a five-well drilling campaign offshore Namibia in late 2022 and global major Chevron entered the market by securing an exploration license in the Orange Basin in 2022.

The NIEC 2023 is destined to advance the signing of deals and forging of partnerships by offering a platform for heightened engagement and dialogue among industry stakeholders.

During the conference, dedicated upstream panel discussions covering topics such as transforming resources into economic development; investing in Namibia’s energy sector; Namibia’s upstream oil and gas insight; and the journey towards value creation will offer in-depth insight into the evolving oil and gas landscape.

Besides Namibia’s new hydrocarbon energy opportunities, the country is also emerging as the destination of choice for renewable energy project developers worldwide.

During 2022, HYPHEN Hydrogen Energy was selected as the preferred bidder for a N$160 billion green hydrogen facility in Namibia, with a series of other pilot projects taking off by a suite of project developers from across the regional and global landscape.

With Namibia’s ambitions to become a global green hydrogen hub, the country is seeking investment to help get this highly lucrative industry off the ground.

With regard to this scenario, the organisers stated that the NIEC 2023 conference will be critical for connecting global investors with Namibian opportunities.

During the event, the focus will be placed on Namibia’s green hydrogen strategy; the pursuit of energy security; and accelerating a just and sustainable energy transition on the back of green hydrogen.

At the same time, the government has placed local content at the heart of energy sector advancements by recognizing the role capacity building and skills transfer must play in ensuring large-scale energy developments that would translate into tangible opportunities for all Namibians. According to the organisers, panel discussions on the development of local content as a catalyst for shared value with Namibians will further explore the need to prioritize the principle.

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