"These discoveries position Namibia's offshore as a global exploration hotspot."

Ebson Uanguta

INTERIM MANAGING DIRECTOR, NAMCOR (NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION OF NAMIBIA)

June 14, 2024

Could you introduce NAMCOR, sharing its mission, mandate, and current operations?

NAMCOR (National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia) was founded in Namibia in 1991 with a clear mandate to ensure state participation in the oil and gas industry. Initially, our focus was on acquiring and interpreting seismic data to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of Namibia's offshore and onshore basins. This effort attracted significant interest from international oil companies, leading to partnerships and exploration investments within the country.

Over the years, NAMCOR has strategically expanded its role. We have diversified into the importation, distribution, and marketing of petroleum products to meet domestic demand. Presently, we operate a network of 19 fuel stations across Namibia.

Our involvement spans both upstream and downstream activities, significantly advancing Namibia's oil and gas sector. Through partnerships and strategic initiatives, we continue to play a pivotal role in fostering economic development and ensuring energy sustainability for Namibia.

What is NAMCOR's take on the recent discoveries in the Orange Basin? 

NAMCOR views the recent discoveries in the Orange Basin as pivotal for Namibia's hydrocarbon profile. The surge in exploration, particularly offshore, has attracted major players like Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies. Our partnerships have yielded significant discoveries in blocks such as PEL 39, 56, and 83. These discoveries position Namibia's offshore as a global exploration hotspot. Currently, our focus is on appraising discovered oil and developing a production plan. We anticipate commercial oil production by 2029, with ongoing exploration efforts to tap into unproven reserves, potentially containing billions of barrels of oil equivalent. Collaborating with TotalEnergies and Shell, we aim to conduct further drilling campaigns to optimize production strategies and unlock Namibia's hydrocarbon potential.

What are the main technical or financial challenges NAMCOR and the Namibian oil and gas sector anticipate over the next five years?

Our offshore oil discoveries pose significant technical challenges due to their depth, ranging from 2-3 km deep, with deposits found as deep as 6 km. This necessitates advanced technology and expertise, especially for exploration and development. Collaboration with experienced IOCs is crucial for accessing the necessary technological support.

Infrastructure development is another critical aspect. Currently, Namibia's infrastructure, both onshore and offshore, is underdeveloped for large-scale oil and gas production. To address this, partnerships with the Namibian government, IOCs, and private investors are essential. These collaborations can facilitate infrastructure projects such as pipelines, processing facilities, and export terminals through public-private partnerships and incentivized investments.

Economic challenges loom large, particularly the high initial investment required for exploration and development in deepwater environments. Additionally, market volatility poses risks for investors. Mitigating these financial challenges involves implementing favorable fiscal regimes and securing funding from international financial institutions.

Environmental concerns, such as potential oil spills and disruption to marine ecosystems, require stringent regulations and adherence to best practices. NAMCOR has adopted measures to mitigate these risks, including comprehensive environmental impact assessments and compliance with international standards.

How does NAMCOR ensure Namibians are involved in the oil and gas sector, and how do you promote local content?

Our approach at NAMCOR is multifaceted. We prioritize skill development and training to enable full participation in the industry. This includes expanding scholarship programs, vocational training, and internships in collaboration with local and international educational institutions. We are also dedicated to strengthening local businesses in the oil and gas supply chain, ensuring they have the capacity and meet industry standards to compete effectively. Moreover, we advocate for Namibia's participation across the entire value chain of the oil and gas industry, not solely in exploration and production but also in downstream activities. This comprehensive involvement maximizes the benefits to the country.

Furthermore, sustainable, and responsible development is paramount. We are committed to enhancing our community development programs to ensure that local communities benefit directly from the country's hydrocarbon wealth. This includes strategic investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education in regions affected by oil and gas activities. Our goal is to strike a delicate balance between fostering thriving sectors and fostering socio-economic development for all Namibians.

Do you have a final message for our audience?

NAMCOR is thrilled about the hydrocarbon prospects in Namibia's offshore basins. We are ready to collaborate with international oil operators to maximize benefits for investors and Namibia. We are committed to leveraging this oil discovery for the benefit of all, especially Namibians. 

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