Day 1 of NIEC 2023 showcased how local content development could serve as a catalyst for in-country shared value and inclusive transformation during an in-focus panel discussion.
Taking place on the first day of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2023 – being held on 26 April in Windhoek with the African Energy Chamber as a Strategic Partner –, a panel discussion examined local content development in Namibia and how capacity building across the energy value chain will contribute towards the creation of a globally competitive workforce in the country.
Moderated by Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo, Director of pan-African legal and business advisory group, Centurion Law Group, the panel discussion featured the participation of Nillian Mulemi, CEO, Petroleum Training and Education Fund (Petrofund); Carlo Mcleod, Deputy Director of Petroleum Affairs, Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Republic of Namibia; Tarik Berair, Business Development Manager, Technip; Jemma Langley, Head of Permanent Local Content Committee (PLCC) and Secretariat, Ministry of Energy & Energy Industries, Trinidad and Tobago; and Sergio Ferreira, Local Energy Advisor for sub-Saharan Africa, Norwegian Energy Partners.
Recent discoveries in the Orange Basin, offshore Namibia, have highlighted the potential for commercial oil and gas project developments. As such, the southern African country is poised to benefit from a long-term integrated local content strategy that serves to implement fit-for-purpose policies and economic diversification.
“We want to come in and invest, trade, and to promote returns with regards to our projects in Namibia,” stated Tarik Berair, adding that, “What I see today are projects from the oil and gas sector, but also from the green hydrogen and green ammonia industries, that can all accumulate at the same time and provide opportunities in-country. We work closely with the local stakeholder so that when we come in, we can evaluate the baseline that is already based in the country, which lets us know what we need to bring in from our side in terms of quality and safety.”
Currently on the precipice of rapid transformation, Namibia’s oil and gas industry is poised to serve as the foundation through which local content across the southern African country’s energy market can be improved. As such, widespread sectoral growth and the participation of international and regional players is expected to result in new opportunities within the domestic market.
“Local content is diverse, and we need to pay attention to the social dynamics in the continent. Before you actually look at how local people and businesses can benefit, you first have to look at demand and figure out what international oil companies need in order to promote local content development,” stated Sergio Ferreira.
The panelists highlighted that the Namibian Government’s efforts towards developing measures to boost local content has the potential to accelerate economic growth and social development. The country’s pursuit of becoming a regional energy hub in sub-Saharan Africa will help to develop a competitive workforce in Namibia where collaboration with key stakeholders will be imperative towards ensuring credible local partnerships.
“When the oil and gas organizations prepare the roles available for their employees, they need to adequately determine and evaluate the competence required,” stated Jemma Langley, adding that, “This will allow these companies to evaluate the gaps that need to be filled and what steps need to be taken to address the development of local content building.”
It was noted during the panel discussion that a long-term, coordinated, and focused local content development strategy has the potential to develop human, social, and economic capacity, thus resulting in tangible results for businesses operating in Namibia. With a focus on workforce and supplier development, the upstream sector in Namibia is well-positioned to result in equitable and sustainable value creation.
“Today, local content is a topical issue. It has been a topical issue for the last five years. If you look at our laws, we basically enacted a law that placed conditions on license holders focused on creating in-country value,” said Carlo Mcleod, further stating, “We want local companies to become part of our strategies towards developing local content.”
Meanwhile, the need for Namibia to work with oil companies to drive investment into communities was highlighted as a requisite for the country to drive sustainable development. The panelists stressed the need for the Government to approach the development of its oil, gas, and broader energy industries with a mindset of building a globally competitive workforce and supply chain.
“We want to make sure that the opportunities for employment are open. We would like the host country to ensure the participation and training of their workforce, because if you hire local personnel, it allows us to cut costs and bring value to the country where we are operating.” concluded Nillian Mulemi.