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Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom

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Namibia has huge renewable energy potential and with solid hydrogen development plans in place, and significant oil and gas discoveries as foundation, the country is at the forefront of an energy boom in Africa. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom 

With an integrated hydrocarbon and renewable energy strategy combined with promising oil and gas discoveries, Namibia is at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom.     

Namibia showcased investment opportunities in the development of its Kudu gas field, the exploration of the highly prospective Orange Basin and developing cost competitive green hydrogen at the Invest in African Energy reception held in London last week. The event was hosted by the African Energy Chamber.

According to Maggy Shino, Petroleum Commissioner of Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, the country is implementing an integrated hydrocarbon strategy that seeks to achieve first oil, while prioritising the global energy transition and a diversified energy matrix, with two sister discoveries in 2022 positioning the country at the forefront of Africa’s upstream revival.

“Namibia offers investors the opportunity of a lifetime,” Shino said in a presentation, delivered under the theme, Namibia: Beyond Venus and Graff.

In February 2022, Shell and TotalEnergies and their joint venture partners led commercial discoveries of light oil in the Graff-1 well and Venus-1X wildcat well, respectively, with combined volumes of 835 million barrels – with even more scope of increasing volumes to one billion barrels due to Venus’ prospectivity.

Now, the Namibian Government is inviting new entrants to accelerate exploration of its Orange Basin – home to a proven working petroleum system with five wells committed to date – offering an open licensing regime and availability of high-quality data.

Production at Kudu imminent (Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom)

One of the country’s most prolific assets is the Kudu Conventional Gas Field, operated by BW Kudu and currently in its feed stage, with commercial production set to start in 2024. Comprising nearly 600 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, the development is expected to reach a peak production of 64 million cubic feet per day.

Exemplifying Namibia’s integrated energy strategy, the project not only leverages existing infrastructure and targets regional energy security, but also supports energy transition solutions and provides for baseload power enabling renewable energy Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

“Kudu is the only field able to give you the solutions that you need. The product is ready and it will give you a clean energy solution amid the energy transition,” Shino told investors.

A significant hydrogen player (Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom)

Meanwhile, Namibia is expected to become a leading player and regional hydrogen ecosystem, with competitive production costs – estimated as low as two dollars per kilogram – that make it an attractive partner for energy-hungry countries in the midst of the energy transition.

As a result of hydrogen production, Namibia could boost its GDP by USD15-billion to USD20-billion per year, create more than 100,000 domestic jobs, export 14 GW of clean power to the Southern African Power Pool and reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 45-60 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2040.

Home to co-located onshore solar and wind power potential, as well as abundant green energy metals, Namibia aims to utilise hydrogen as a building block for associated downstream industries and by-products, including ammonia, methane and jet-fuel.

“Hydrogen creates an opportunity for Africa like no other,” said James Mnyupe, Presidential Economic Advisor of Namibia, noting that hydrogen production represents a USD100-billion opportunity for Africa in the next decade.

In terms of incentivising investors, Mnyupe said that the Namibian government has tried to make it simple for all interested investors. “We’ve put together a blended financing infrastructure platform – possibly the first of its kind in Africa. We are going to build a one-billion-dollar fund that will be investing in all pieces of hydrogen infrastructure – pipelines, transmission lines, and so forth,” said Mnyupe.

Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom 

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Namibia at the forefront of Africa’s energy boom

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