Oil must have tangible benefits for all


Namibia is set to become a major African player in the oil and gas industry and the country is drawing investments interests from around the world as witnessed at the oil and gas conference held in Windhoek this week.

For the last six years, the country has hosted the Namibia International Energy Conference but this this year’s conference under the theme ‘Reimagine Resource-Rich Namibia: Turning Possibilities into Prosperity, ‘was special because it came at a time when Namibia has discovered huge oil reserves. Namibia has a potential of 11 billion barrels equivalent of crude oil reserves offshore.

The conference brought together close to 800 policymakers, energy stakeholders, investors, and international partners to foster industry growth and position Namibia as a prime investment destination.

Selma Shimutwikeni, CEO of Rich Africa Consultancy, the host of the conference said the aim of the conference was to transform the abundant possibilities of Namibia’s energy rich nation into tangible benefits for all.

“Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. It speaks to the resilience within us. We look forward to a future where Namibia emerges as a beacon for prosperity in the energy landscape,” said Shimutwikeni.


Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretary general Haitham Ghais told the conference that OPEC is keen to intensify cooperation with Namibia.

Ghais said Namibia constitutes the oil industry’s next frontier. “Namibian oil will be vital in meeting the future demand needs of consumers. This is clear when one considers the demographic and economic direction of travel the world is set to embark on over the next few decades,” the OPEC chief said.

Eduardo Rodriguez, country chair of Shell Petroluem and Exploration noted that the company with its partners we have worked at pace and scale to understand its license and its commercial potential.

“We have drilled six exploration wells, completed floor tests, this pace is thanks to the ministry and those collaborating with us.”

Shell wants to bring local deployment opportunity by supporting local supply chains, working with government on a local content strategy which must continue to be a priority in future operations, Rodriguez said.

Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk said now is the time for Namibia to move forward, drive exploration, enhance the path of energy.

“The audience will hold the government accountable, fiscus, supporting contracts, enabling policies are essential to our success. We need to believe and uplift people. It’s time for Namibians to believe in themselves. You all need to drive the industry, work, strive, struggle and be better together. It’s not about local content or handouts, it’s about the dignity that we find in work, jobs and prosperity,” Ayuk said.


Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo believes that Namibia is on the brink of an energy revolution that will greatly impact the economy.

He pointed out that the significant oil discoveries in the Orange Basin, are believed to be the largest ever found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country is currently evaluating the commercial viability of these discoveries and expressed confidence that the initial projections will be confirmed.

Alweendo said a draft National Upstream Petroleum Local Content Policy is in place and outlines a pathway for Namibian citizens and companies to benefit from oil and gas resources.

Chief Executive Officer of Rand Merchant Bank Namibia, Philip Chapman said the announcement of hydrocarbon finds and insights point to a rapidly developing economy.

“To develop the country and its people we need collaboration, and everyone to take up their role in developing the industry. We have been an enabler in developing other sectors and we hope to enable you to develop your sector for the good of Namibia. We are committed to the energy development, but we need to work together “if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together,” said Chapman.

In a separate conference on Namibia Local Content, which was held in Luderitz last week, Petroleum Commissioner, Maggy Shino said local content development is not merely an aspiration but a fundamental imperative for realizing the full potential of our petroleum sector and ensuring that its benefits are felt by all Namibians.

“It is about creating opportunities for local businesses to participate meaningfully in the petroleum value chain, from exploration and production to downstream activities,” Shino said.

Shino said the policy provides Namibia with a unique opportunity to come together as a community and chart the course for the future of local content development in Namibia’s energy sector.


Talking about a world outlook on oil, Abderrezak Benyoucef, head of energy studies department at OPEC noted that the global population is set to rise to 9.5 billion by 2045, Africa will double its population by 2050.

“Working age population will decrease while urbanisation increases. Oil will retain the largest share of the energy mix by 2045. The demand for energy will continue to increase.”

Benyoucef noted that natural gas, and oil will have the largest and fastest growth. Coal demand will decrease due to restrictive policies and the push for renewable and nuclear energy, he added. Major contributors to the future oil demand will be India, other parts of Asia, Africa and Middle East.

“Africa’s pool production is only 4% compared to the rest of the world. We expect increase in local oil production, but the energy poverty will still exceed production. Road, petrochemicals and aviation are the greatest areas of oil demand.”

Benyoucef said without investment, there will be a large gap between demand and capacity. He said stricter requirements for desulfurization will be required to achieve environmental preservation goals.

“The gap between demand and capability will make it difficult for policy makers to make decisions.

We need all the drums of oil worldwide. Development of the fields is necessary. We need reevaluated energy policies. A sustainable future for all needs focus on inclusive all people all fuels and all technologies approach.”

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