The African Energy Chamber (AEC) to Establish Office in Namibia to Promote Local Content, Capacity Building

With Namibia’s energy sector on the precipice of rapid transformation on the back of recent oil and gas discoveries, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) (https://EnergyChamber.org) will establish an office in the country dedicated to promoting local content development efforts. The AEC will engage with various stakeholders across the Namibian energy industry, including national and international oil companies, the government and service companies, utilizing a multi-tiered approach to scaling up local talent and capabilities. The office will serve as the foundation to which local content across the Namibian energy market can be improved, thereby significantly contributing to the creation of a globally competitive workforce in Namibia.

The establishment of the office could not come at a better time for the Namibian energy market. In 2022, the country witnessed its first two major oil and gas discoveries made by global majors TotalEnergies and Shell in the Venus and Graff-1 wells, respectively. Potentially holding billions of barrels worth of reserves, these discoveries have not only made clear the sizable hydrocarbon resources available in the country’s offshore basins but have laid the foundation for widespread sectoral growth as new players flock to the promising market. Shell has announced another potential discovery in the Jonker-1 well which may complement previous finds.

The AEC firmly believes that Namibia needs to move beyond free markets and work with oil companies to drive investment into communities, driving up sustainable development

Following TotalEnergies and Shell’s discoveries, a number of other exploration campaigns have kicked off, with frontier explorers hoping to mirror the success of Venus and Graff-1. Canadian oil and gas explorer, ReconAfrica, is conducting upstream activities in the deep Kavango Sedimentary Basin in the northeastern part of the country while independent French explorer, Maurel & Prom, is set to join the Namibian upstream drive with a potential five-well drilling campaign, kicking off with the spudding of the Aurora wildcat this year. Additionally, Canadian oil and gas company, Sintana Energy, has approved the extension to its Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 87 in the Orange Basin – expected to contain similar characteristics to that of the Shell and TotalEnergies discoveries were made – energy major Chevron acquired an interest in PEL 90 in the Orange Basin in October 2022 while ExxonMobil is increasing its exploration acreage in the country with an agreement for Blocks 1710 and 1810, as well as farm-in agreements for Blocks 1711 and 1811A.

As such, new discoveries are in sight for the country, and as a result, new opportunities for the accelerated growth of the domestic market. Stepping into this picture, the AEC Namibian office aims to ensure that as sizable discoveries translate into large-scale development, the Namibian workforce is ready and capable to cope with the workforce demand. The AEC is currently working on a supplier development and registration database that will ensure Namibian businesses and service providers are identified, registered and funded. The Chamber will also be scaling up various oil and gas courses and seminars, as well as business mentorship and partnership programs to ensure credible local partnerships exist. This way, the AEC is committed to helping develop a competitive workforce in Namibia in collaboration with key stakeholders.

“The AEC firmly believes that Namibia needs to move beyond free markets and work with oil companies to drive investment into communities, driving up sustainable development. Namibia needs to approach the development of its oil, gas and broader energy industries with a mindset of building a globally competitive workforce and supply chain. Only then will the country ensure long-term and sustainable economic growth,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that, “The Namibian office will prioritize local content development and will serve as a base to which country-wide capacity building and skills transfer initiatives can take place. The AEC believes that beyond driving up entrepreneurship and local content policy and that the role of women is key to all industry growth. We have to rapidly work with government and the industry to ensure capacity building in technical areas like electrical, mechanical and operations to support the oil and gas industry.”

Meanwhile, notwithstanding opportunities across the hydrocarbons space, the country’s pursuit of becoming a global green hydrogen hub on the back of large-scale projects opens up critical prospects for businesses and service providers across the green energy landscape. Projects such as the Hyphen Hydrogen-led $9.4 billion green hydrogen project as well as the various green hydrogen pilot projects launched by the Ministry of Mines and Energy lay the foundation for new opportunities across the market, and the AEC’s Namibian office aims to ensure the workforce keeps up with the growth of this market. As such, the office will offer courses, seminars and partnership programs that cover the renewable energy space, thereby positioning the domestic workforce at the forefront of the country’s green hydrogen expansion. 

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