Namibia hopeful for hydrocarbons FID by the end of 2017

Flag map of NamibiaNamibia is hopeful that its nascent gas sector will put the country on the map. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Darwinek) Two leaders in the nascent Namibian oil and gas industry have spoken about their hopes for a final investment decision (FID) on the Kudu offshore project by the end of 2017, as well as calling for relationship-building with international partners

Speaking at the Getenergy Global event, Nillian Mulemi, CEO of Petrofund, and Maryke Krohne, executive for human capital and strategic development for NAMCOR, were upbeat but realistic about the south-west African country's hydrocarbon prospects.

Mulemi told the conference that Namibia has "high potential" with more than 40 hydrocarbons explorers working in the country and that she is confident of FID by the end of the year. 

"Gas was discovered in the early 70s and development has had its own cycles, with competing sources of energy [in Namibia but now] the momentum to develop the gas has grown," she said.

In regard to capacity building, Mulemi said that Namibia has been "very fortunate that the government had the foresight" to establish Petrofund, which has been operating for more than 20 years. She said that skills have been developed among local people in readiness for a hydrocarbons economy but investment is needed in jobs such as resource managers and accounting professionals.

"In terms of capacity building, we've done fairly well [but] the industry is too slow for my liking [and this is] frustrating for graduates," Mulemi said. She explained that the strategy moving forward is to develop a committee to identify which skills the industry require, and to build relationships across the world with NOCs and IOCs "so our graduates can get employed around the world". This is to ensure they have the experience needed for when Namibian projects go live. She also cited mentorship and intern programmes as further means of ensuring graduates have the experience Namibia requires.

Krohne reiterated Mulemi's calls for continued capacity building. With progress being made with the Kudu project, Krohne said NAMCOR needs to "make sure the technical skills are there at all levels" and that mentorship and coaching is needed to take the technical training to the next level.

Ensuring a robust downstream sector is important, according to Krohne.

"What we've done so far is that we've overcapacitated in E&P," she said, adding that the downstream sector will need qualified people "if the next level of FID comes in December". She added that joint venture partners as well as the Namibia Training Authority will be able to help with providing necessary upskilling.

Krohne told the conference that good mentors are needed in Namibia and called for mentorship ideas, exchange programmes and fellowships to enable graduates to be ready for work in Namibia's hydrocarbons industry.

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