National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) chairperson Jennifer Comalie has applauded all exploration partners after light oil was discovered in Namibia in February 2022, saying all stakeholders are aligned to commence with production as quickly as possible.
Earlier this year, a joint venture, consisting of Shell, announced the discovery of oil in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia.
Soon after that, another joint venture, consisting of TotalEnergies, made a similar announcement, with Qatar Energy and the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) being partners in both discoveries.
“These new discoveries have been a game changer in Namibia, which is our first discovery since independence. It has been 30 years of exploration – and finally, we hit the jackpot,” said Comalie this week during an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.
She noted that Namibia is running parallel processes and looking at design options to ensure the newly discovered oil gets to the market as soon as possible.
Comalie further termed the discoveries as a significant development for Namibia, as the two discoveries could generate about US$5.6 billion in revenue.
This has the potential to double the Gross Domestic Product for the small Namibian by 2040.
The Namibian economy is still reeling from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with persistent recession.
As such, the domestic economy is at a desperate juncture in its economic development for the introduction of a diversification strategy, as the country cannot rely indefinitely on its natural resources and volatile commodity prices for growth.
“We’re looking forward to having resources to implement our plans from the discoveries to address our socio-economic economic challenges like inequality, job creation and energy security,” said Comalie.
Furthermore, she added, the country has learned from other African states who discovered oil that local content is a serious component that needs attention: “We still have an opportunity to negotiate it with our partners when we come closer to issuing that production license. We also learned that we need legislation to make sure the targets are able to be monitored”.
The Namcor chairperson alluded that Namibia is fortunate it discovered light oil that produces lower carbon emissions but she said the country will not get to a net zero emission situation.
She added Namibia is looking at green solutions to power oil production.
On the other side of the coin, she noted the country is also looking at green hydrogen for future development.
Touching on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, she said it severely delayed the energy transition globally – and now, the world has to secure alternative sources of energy.
“I think Namibia can play its role to the benefit of our country, and this is a massive opportunity for us to do the right thing,” said Comalie.