The Ministry of Mines and energy has announced that it welcomed its first vessel at the N$5.5 billion National Oil and Petroleum Storage Facility at Walvis Bay at the beginning of the month.

The arrival of the vessel and its planned offloading of fuel at the facility is part of the final testing of the facility.

“The vessel is scheduled to offload 35 000 tonnes of diesel as part of the final testing on completion of the project. Our technical teams will continue to test the facility as part of the final stage of the construction phase of the project,” the ministry announced on Thursday.

Ministry of Mines said the completion of a successful testing will allow for the hand over for the facility to the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor).

“Once the testing is complete and the facility is certified as “fit for purpose”, the government will take over the facility and in turn hand it over to Namcor to operate the fuel handling portions, while Namport will continue to regulate all port activities as regulated by Cabinet.”

The development comes as Government had projected that the completion of the project will done before the 30th of November 2020.

Previously, the completion date of the project was initially set for 2018, and then it was further delayed to February, 2020.

Already there are companies that are in agreement to be hosted and make use of the government facility and these include Vitol SA, Vivo Namibia, Total Namibia and Gunvor Middle East DMCC.

The construction project which started in 2015 includes an oil tanker jetty with a 6430 m long and 180 m wide maritime access channel, various berths and tug berths, and a 1646 m long trestle with 155 spans leading to an onshore station. The project also includes a technical area on land, a tank farm with capacity for 75 000 m³ of fuel and a 5.4 km long pipeline.