Striking a balance between growth and sustainability with oil and gas in Namibia

Niël Terblanché

The Namibian government will have to remain steadfast in its dual commitment to environmental preservation and economic prosperity when tackling the development of the oil and gas industry.

At the official opening of the Namibia International Energy Conference 2024, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo gave the assurance that the nation’s mushrooming oil and gas industry aligns with stringent environmental regulations.

The conference in Windhoek is presented under the theme, ‘Reimagine Resource-Rich Namibia: Turning Possibilities into Prosperity’.

“Those who critique the environmental implications often do so from a place of comfort, detached from the realities faced on the ground,” Alweendo said while stressing the government’s commitment to both ecological stewardship and economic growth.

Namibia has recently entered the global spotlight following substantial oil discoveries in the offshore Orange Basin, projected to be the most prolific in sub-Saharan Africa.

Alweendo said that these discoveries could potentially transform Namibia into a leading oil producer.

“We are confident that the initial projections will hold true, setting the stage for a hydrocarbon bounty that could significantly elevate our national economy,” he said to highlight the commercial potential of these discoveries.

The conference also touched on critical issues such as skill development and local content.

“The lack of existing skills in the sector should not deter us,” Alweendo argued while pushing for an environment where local businesses and workers benefit broadly from the industry’s growth.

Ebson Uanguta, the interim managing director of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor), shared the company’s forward-looking strategy.

“We are aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but are prepared for the journey towards production,” Uanguta said.

The conference also served as a platform for international encouragement, with Njock Ayuk Eyong, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, commending Namibia’s progress and readiness to take decisive action.

On a similar note, OPEC’s secretary general, Haitham AI Ghais, expressed a readiness to support Namibia, anticipating a rise in global oil demand.

He said that Namibia stands on the brink of an oil revolution but added that the country should remain cautious about joining OPEC, considering it premature at this stage.

“Nevertheless, the potential membership could solidify its position on the global oil stage,” he said.

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