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NIEC 2023 Places Spotlight on Namibian Upstream Oil & Gas

Day 1 of NIEC 2023 featured a panel discussion that sought to highlight the potential of Namibia’s upstream oil and gas industry.

Day 1 of NIEC 2023 featured a panel discussion that sought to highlight the potential of Namibia’s upstream oil and gas industry.

Under the theme, ‘The Journey Towards Value Creation’, the first day of the Namibian International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2023 featured a panel discussion that focused on Namibia’s upstream oil and gas industry, with recent major discoveries thrusting the southern African country towards consolidating its position as a hydrocarbon exploration hotspot.

Moderated by NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), the panel discussion featured the participation of Mtudeni Ndafyaalako, Acting Executive of Upstream Development and Production, NAMCOR; Bridget Venner, Vice President and General Manager, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Namibia; Scott Evans, CEO, ReconAfrica; Adriano Bastos, Head of Upstream Special Projects, Galp Energies; and Gerd Nji, CEO, Kariya Energy.

Namibia’s deepwater potential in the Orange Basin has been confirmed by oil and gas giants Shell, TotalEnergies, and QatarEnergy, positioning the southern African country as a hydrocarbon hotspot that can drive intra-regional gas trade and socioeconomic development.

“Namcor has been putting in a lot of effort in terms of upstream oil and gas development,” stated Mtundeni Ndafyaalako, Acting Executive of Upstream Development and Production for Namibia’s National Oil Company, NAMCOR, adding, “We are always working with our partners to exploit the full potential of Namibia. We have done a lot of work to forge relationships with International Oil Companies and bridging the gap between the Government and investors. Going forward, NAMCOR will continue to support the development of further exploration and monetizing our discovered resources.”

By looking at Namibia’s recent Venus and Graff discoveries, the panel sought to evaluate the country’s petroleum fiscal terms and investment scale in the region. Furthermore, the speakers examined the country’s role in regional development and trade, which is poised to transform Namibia’s economy.

“As we think about trying to create value from the upstream in Namibia, there are four key things to take into consideration. You’ve got to have good rocks, good material and good resource prospective. You need good resource fiscals that are good for the investor and for the host government. Thirdly, you need strong partnerships with your host government and suppliers. And finally, you need a stable business environment,” stated Bridget Venner, Vice President and General Manager for Namibian explorer, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Namibia.

Limited exploration in Namibia offers the country the potential to learn from the successes of other countries in the region, thus promoting offshore hydrocarbon exploration in a manner that is profitable and beneficial towards socioeconomic development, local content creation, and capacity building. As such, Namibia’s oil discoveries have shed light on the southern African region’s frontier basins while showcasing the country’s potential to become an energy hub.

“It’s really quite exciting at the moment,” stated Scott Evans, CEO of oil and gas exploration company, ReconAfrica, adding that, “We are finishing the last rounds of our 2D data acquisition right now where we found the kinds of rocks we were hoping to see. This is poised to become very important for our operations in Namibia and completing work in the blocks we operate in.”

It was noted during the panel discussion that Namibia is ranked among Africa’s most favorable and stable investment destinations, with the Government having demonstrated in recent years, its commitment towards stimulating economic growth and employment through the attraction and retention of investments and participation of international companies.

“A lot of advantage comes with not being the first to do something,” stated Adriano Bastos, Head of Upstream Special Projects at multinational energy corporation, Galp Energies, adding that, “How we create value comes from finding solutions for energy that is affordable and reliable. We look at how to collaborate and how to increase the capabilities within the country to become the next major supplier of oil and gas to the region.”

Currently engaged in extensive analyses to determine the full potential of its onshore and offshore oil deposits, NAMCOR and the Government of Namibia have pledged to provide all the necessary support to expediate field development within the country to achieve production before the end of the decade.

The oil and gas sector of Namibia is a fairly new industry that requires further development, the panelists noted, highlighting that focus on upstream activities, the development of a favorable legislative framework governing the country’s upstream, and the issuance of exploration licenses will serve to develop value creation and promote socioeconomic development within the country.

“When we talk about value creation, we have to increase the GDP of Namibia from $24 billion to about $30 billion exponentially. Being said, upstream is very capital intensive and very technical intensive and the processes are very complicated. Therefore, outside participation and internal development will be essential when promoting Namibia’s upstream oil and gas sector.”

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