Oil and gas exploration should be done in harmony withthe environment: PM

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Namibia is a land of unspoiled beauty and rich resources, and the discovery of oil and gas reserves within our borders brings both opportunities and responsibilities.

“We must ensure that the development of this sector not only brings equitable economic development but that it is also done in harmony with our environment.”

These were the words of Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, yesterday while speaking at the Oil and Gas Conference in the capital.

She said that Namibia’s journey into the major leagues of oil and gas-producing countries should be a carefully considered one.

“Because Government is still committed to an approach that places socio-economic development and environmental stewardship at the heart of efforts. Therefore, the decisions that are made today will reverberate for generations to come,” she said.

When the country ventures into the new frontier, leaders are advised to learn from those that came before them and adopt the highest international standards, mitigate environmental risks and embrace innovation to minimise the ecological footprint.

“The Government remains committed to the calling of Vision 2030, which states that Namibia should develop herself using her own resources, both human and natural resources. We are committed to promoting responsible development that encompasses economic prosperity, social progress and environmental well-being.

This conference is of vital importance, as Namibia recognises the full potential of the sector, which undoubtedly, brings economic growth, offering new avenues for employment creation, skills development, and investment opportunities. This will improve the socio-economic welfare of the Namibian people,” she said.

The Premier added that the conference serves as a platform for dialogue, learning and knowledge exchange. Because it is the place where people should demonstrate their inclusive approach by deliberately ensuring that the barriers to participation are removed.

“A coordinated approach is required to unlock support from countries with similar ambitions. In this regard, I commend the organisers of the conference for bringing together the collective wisdom of experts who have traversed similar paths in other parts of the world to share experience and best practices on oil and gas,” she expressed.

While speaking at the same occasion, National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia Acting Managing Director, Shiwana Ndeunyema, said there is a need for a policy statement on the Namibian oil and gas sector. A Namibian ideological dispensation in terms of what it aims to achieve from the petroleum sector from which all policies, strategies and initiatives will flow.

“Namcor role is critical from a resource and revenue maximisation perspective, we are committed to jointly working together with the Joint Venture partners and Government to successfully develop the recent oil and gas finds in Namibia. We need to unpack and understand the oil and gas value chain, this will enable the country to leverage immediate opportunities, address skill gaps and strategically develop industries that align with the sector’s requirements,” he said.

He added that Namcor’s end game is to place the company in a position to competently supervise Namibia’s petroleum assets, specifically in light of International Oil Companies’ Energy transition strategies and commercial thresholds.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Namibia has become a powerhouse and as Namcor, we remain committed to being the Namibian state’s vehicle, that will help unlock the country’s economic potential given the wealth lying beneath our feet,” Ndeunyema said.

Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo, who also spoke on the same occasion, said that even though the Oil and Gas discovery is said to address high unemployment, it will not address all social challenges in the country at the same time.

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