04 August 2014, Windhoek — Namibia’s second International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition is scheduled to take place at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort from 17 to 19 September under the theme ‘Unlocking and Optimising our Resource Potential’, with a focus on exploration, energy and investment.
The current sponsors of this event are Murphy Luderitz Oil Company and OMV, which are both leading international oil companies operating in Namibia.
The findings of the first conference in 2012, themed ‘The Road to Discovery and Beyond’ indicated that in terms of the legal and regulatory framework, Namibia has the right tools in place in the event of a major oil or gas discovery.
However, there is room for improvement, such as improving the country’s infrastructure, commented Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni, Managing Director and co-founder of Rich Africa Consultancy who is the brainchild behind this thought leadership conference.
Shimutwikeni, who has a Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Computer Information Systems and Business Management from La Roche College in the USA, a senior status law qualifying degree with a special focus in World Trade Organisation Law from Leeds University and a Masters of Law Degree in Mineral Law and Policy obtained from Dundee University’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy, says she is passionate about the potential of Namibia and the African Continent at large.
“Africa’s resources are a catalyst for transformation, if managed properly. This goes beyond minerals, oil, water and forestry as it also includes Africa’s large population.
That is where the strength lies and that’s where we should focus to transform our continent and therefore achieve development and sustainability”, remarked Shimutwikeni.
“Part of the problem is that people tend to focus on obtaining exploration licenses but the industry has so much more opportunities to offer. Countries like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa all have local content legislation and I would strongly recommend that Namibia considers similar legislation”, commented Shimutwikeni.
The proudly Namibian event will gather high-level government decision makers, international and national oil and gas experts and business analysts to explore how Namibia can unlock the potential of its oil, gas and energy sectors and therefore achieve sustainability envisioned by the Country’s Vision 2030.
It will explore the latest developments, challenges and investment opportunities in the sectors. According to Shimutwikeni, the conference has widened its scope to include the energy sector. It will furthermore examine solutions for Namibia to become less reliant on external stakeholders in terms of energy solutions and will include an international perspective to look at what is happening on the global front.
The International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition takes place with the support of the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
According to Shimutwikeni the idea for an international oil and gas conference stemmed from increased interest in the Namibia’s growing oil and gas industry.
“As natural resource experts, our objective is to provide a learning platform that contributes to the establishment of solid foundations for the management and sustainable development of Namibia’s petroleum and energy sectors. Equally important, this conference is a tool for investment attraction because it showcases the Country’s oil and gas potential”, added Shimutwikeni.
“The concept was to provide a thought leadership platform where different stakeholders, government and private sector, could gather to exchange ideas and debate key issues shaping the industry.
The main idea is to create a learning platform for solutions”, indicated Shimutwikeni. She further noted that the reason the event is held every two years is “because the Namibian industry is young and growing”. Similarly, Rich Africa Consultancy is of the opinion that is an adequate time frame ‘to allow for adequate development in the sector and thus ensure insightful deliberations’.
The first International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition included experts from countries like Brazil, Nigeria and Angola who focused on key issues such as the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration.
The experts also touched on fiscal issues and project financing. “The whole purpose of the first conference was to prepare Namibia in the event of a commercially viable discovery to avoid the ‘resource curse’ that has been experienced by so many countries”, noted Shimutwikeni.
More than 250 delegates took part in the first conference, the majority of whom were international. “Not only is the conference a learning and networking platform but it is also a tool to attract investment.
It was challenging to organise the first conference as it was a first for the country and it involved a lot of preparation and I had to showcase and apply my expertise and knowledge.
All in all, it was a highly successful event evidenced by the positive feedback of the attendees and this year’s conference promises to exceed the 2012 success. It definitely requires hard work and extensive stakeholder engagement, as it is a collaborative effort for the benefit of Namibia”, Concluded Shimutwikeni.
Rich Africa Consultancy is a strategic advisory company specialising in natural resources law, policy and facilitating investment in the sector.
The company also ensures that its clients understand the local investment environment and assists host governments to design resource management plans that contribute to sustainable development and maximise the economic value of their resources.