Oil industry skills critical for Namibia

Staff writer

Namibia should strengthen and develop its financial sector and fiscal management capacities in preparation for the expansion of the economy on the back of the recent discoveries of oil in the offshore continental shelve.

The managing director of Namcor, Immanuel Mulunga says Namibia should not only bolster its financial sector, but should also build its human resources that is knowledge, skills, creativity and wellbeing and institutional capacity to manage the petroleum sector in parallel with the process of expanding the productive activities of the economy.

‘’Such conditions namely human capital and institutional capacity are essential for Namibia to effectively benefit from the wealth generated by oil resources as well as the desired diversification of the economy,’’ Mulungu told the Windhoek Observer in an exclusive one-on-one interview.

He said the benefits associated with the discovery are enormous and the ‘’fact that Namibia classified as an oil producing country will undoubtedly attract a lot more oil majors to the country, which may result in more discoveries’’, he sounded optimistically.

Namcor, as a 10% interest holder will not only derive revenue during the production phase, but its technical staff will be exposed to the full hydrocarbon cycle from exploration to production, the MD said.

‘’This allows them to put theory into practice to further enhance their practical skills. This is important for us given our wish to become an oil production operator in future,’’ Mulunga shared.

Mulunga promised that Namcor will not just be a silent 10 percent shareholder in the blocks, and is interested in developing its exploration skills, ‘’where we attach our employees to skills transfer programmes as part of our farm out agreements’’.

Special skills are needed to execute the strategic initiatives outlined in Namcor’s strategic plan, and these would be developed through the attachment of staff to its main exploration partners.

He said a significant amount of time has been spent in laying the foundation to prepare the company for the expected growth. ‘’Today I am proud to say that we’ve managed to assemble a team that we belief will ensure a soft landing towards our vision of becoming a world class petroleum organisation, which delivers returns on the nation’s oil and gas potential, for the benefit of all stakeholders,’’ the MD said confidently.

Saying the oil industry has a wide spectrum of job opportunities, he encouraged Namibians to start acquiring the necessary skill sets and knowledge of what the industry would require and the opportunities that could arise, in particular during the production phase.

Speaking about expansion plans, he said that Namcor’s wants to spread its footprint in the prospective and politically stable countries through the acquisition of commercially viable producing assets.

He said the discovery of oil will see Namibia’s economy expanding by billions of dollars in revenue with the hydrocarbon industry creating a unique business opportunity for the country’s economic development. Also, the discoveries and the expansion of the economy that is associated with oil producing countries, could fundamentally transform the economy and enable it to meet its key sustainable development goals.

‘’Therefore, a well-managed oil sector can bring huge positive and sustainable impacts to Namibia ie socio-economic growth and positive economic externalities,’’ said the MD.

Mulunga is confident that Namibia’s discoveries will not result in what has been referred to as the ‘’oil curse’’ saying that any negative implications will be mitigated by the current legislation governing petroleum exploration and production activity in Namibia which according to him are quite robust. He singled out the Constitution, Petroleum Act, Taxation Act, Water Act, Atmospheric Pollution Act, Prevention and Combatting of Pollution of the Sea Act and the Environmental Management Act, among other.

In addition to the 10% carried interest the government holds in all exploration licences through Namcor, the petroleum taxation regime also requires payment of about 60 percent tax on oil revenue, he said.

Mulungu identified one of his key achievements since joining Namcor in 2015 as the company’s entry into the fuel retail sector, where it established a total of 10 fuel stations country wide. These include Hosea Kutako International Airport site, Khomasdal, Ongwediva, Oshakati, Khorixas, Mariental, Swakopmund, Outapi, Otjiwarongo and Otavi. More sites, he said are planned for strategic points around the country.

He said Namcor has been managing a world class Namibian hydrocarbon dataset, which he credited for the high interest shown in the oil investment exploration in the country.


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