Namibia should not be apologetic for having discovered oil, but the country should ensure it derives maximum benefit from it.
Sharing crucial advice with Namibia on its recent oil discoveries, minister of mines from Equatorial Guinea Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima yesterday said: “This is a blessing, and Namibia should utilise and benefit from it.
I mention this because, sometimes, they make you feel you are making something wrong. Don’t sit here and wait for people to come; go there.”
He said Namibians should visit other African countries that already discovered, produced and developed oil resources to ensure the country benefits from the valuable commodity. He made these remarks at the International Energy Conference being held in Windhoek, which started yesterday and will conclude on Friday, 22 April 2022.
Namibia recently confirmed major light oil and associated gas discovery on the Venus-1X prospect, located in block 2913B (PEL 56) in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia.
The confirmation followed Shell’s recent Graff-1 discovery in the same vicinity, although the volumes of oil and gas in the exploration areas have not yet been announced.
The visiting minister added Namibia should not apologise to anyone for having made a discovery of oil and gas, and the country should develop the resource.
The conference boasts a strong line-up of international, regional and national energy experts, and it aims to spearhead a multi-dimensional and thought-provoking conversation with industry players.
This year’s conference is taking place under the theme ‘The Energy Mix: Positioning for Industrialisation, Investment and Growth’.
The Equatorial Guinea minister added it is open to receiving local technicians for exposure and experience in the sector.
“This is a great opportunity, and you should not follow what other people who do not have a resource tell you what to do with your resource. Namibia should feel grateful, as this discovery will change the country’s future,” he said.
He also urged Namibia to define its local content and not copy from other countries.
At the same occasion, mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo stressed the recent oil discoveries in Namibia will be a blessing for future generations and not a curse as is the case with experiences with other countries.
According to Alweendo, countries are cursed if their economies tend to rely only on that specific sector as a revenue stream.
Alweendo believes Namibia has strong political institutions to ensure the country benefits.
“What Namibia needs to do is to make sure what we get from the oil is reserved for future generations. A lot depends on what Namibians decide to do,” he said.
“The discovery will be a meaningful factor to the domestic economy. Namibia has engaged well with investors to make sure this is a win-win situation once production commences.”
Furthermore, he touched on the timeline of Namibia’s green hydrogen ambitions: “By 2025, Namibia aims to have pilot plants that are producing commercial green hydrogen. With regard to the market, there are talks for partnerships in Europe for market purposes.”
He added that at the moment, Africa is suffering from energy poverty, as not enough power is being distributed across the continent.
He noted that without energy, it becomes difficult for economies to industrialise and grow. This poverty, according to him, is due to a lack of infrastructure investment and unfavourable policy environments to attract investments.
Also at the conference, Dennis Zekveld, country chair of Shell Namibia and general manager of Shell South Africa Upstream, said Namibia is uniquely positioned, and a lot of opportunities await the country.
“After we announced the recent discovery, we want to fully prepare to ensure this resource is not a curse for the country but a blessing for the whole nation. Thus, let us be patient, as it takes time to realise these benefits,” said Zekveld.