NAMIBIA Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) chief executive officer Nangula Uaandja said Namibia’s ambition is to become the energy capital of Africa.
Uaandja said this last week when she spoke at the Invest in Namibia Country Spotlight session organised by the mines ministry, NIPDB and Namcor at African Energy Week 2022 in Cape Town.
Uaandja said when talking about the energy transition, there is room for fossil fuels and meeting net zero emissions that are not mutually exclusive.
“We are committed to the needs of the environment, while at the same time meeting the needs of our people,” she said.
Hyphen Hydrogen Energy Namibia business case development manager Jonathan Metcalfe said when it comes to cost-effective green hydrogen in Namibia, the curve is much steeper than in the gas sector.
“As a result, we need to focus on the quality of the resource and bankability of the project. This project combines a high-quality resource in a very stable country with high investability. Namibia is one of the world’s lowest-cost producers. This means a much lower resource deployment than normal hydrogen or energy developments,” Metcalfe said.
A joint venture of Nicholas Holdings and Enertrag South Africa, Hyphen Hydrogen Energy won a 40-year bid to develop Namibia’s US$9,4 billion hydrogen project in the Tsau //Khaeb National Park to produce 300 000 tonnes of hydrogen per year.
Petroleum commissioner in the mines ministry Maggy Shino said the new oil discoveries are just the beginning of an era regarding the potential for hydrocarbons in Namibia.
Shino was referring to the discoveries made by TotalEnergies in Block 2913B, which covers about 8 215km2 in Namibia’s deep offshore, and the one made by Shell and Qatar Energy early this year on Petroleum Exploration Licence 0039, that covers approximately 12 000km2 in deep water offshore Namibia.
Research firm Wood Mackenzie estimates the oil discoveries to be about 6,5 billion barrels.
Shino said the geology of Namibia has been tricky, and that Namibia’s first well was a hit with Kudu gas, but the wells that followed were not a success.
“We have an environment with volcanics, which sent our investors on a wild goose chase. Now, we have managed to resolve that puzzle and open up that play. Our strategy is to drive exploration so that we can replicate the success we have in the Orange Basin,” she said.
Pinehas Mutota, the general manager for economic regulation at the Electricity Control Board, and NamPower managing director Simeon Haulofu assured investors that Namibia has vast resources to generate enough electricity.
Mutota said Namibia was seeing the market opening up in the electricity sector.
“The market has been liberalised so that independent producers can sell their electricity directly to larger producers. Namibia also allows for export. We have vast energy resources, and the electricity we generate cannot only be absorbed in Namibia. South Africa, for example, has a deficit of 15 GW,” Mutota said.
Haulofi said a lot of intermittent power is expected to flow into the national grid.
“NamPower has not been idle. We are expanding and strengthening our grid, and if you travel to Namibia, you will see the rollout of huge transmission infrastructure on the ground. Discoveries of oil and gas only add to our excitement to be able to generate electricity and keep supply sufficient,” he said.
Lawyer Shakwa Nyambe, the managing partner at SNC Incorporated, said as much as Namibia wants to fast-track the appraisal of development, fast-tracking local content mechanisms and policy should not be forgotten.
“We need to do a market analysis and understand what skills we do and do not have and what kind of services to bring to the Namibian workforce. We must have a strong implementation of strategy, monitoring and evaluation. This will make the industry inclusive,” Nyambe said.
Eric Williams, the principal consultant with Royal Triangle Energy Solutions, said local content has two parts: forward and backward linkages.
“The backward linkage is jobs and services in the local economy. Forward linkage has to do with beneficiation – the added value to the raw material farmed in your country. The difference between high- and low-income countries is that the highest contributor to GDP in low-income countries is agriculture, while in high-income countries, it’s services,” Williams said.