Windhoek, Namibia — The fifth edition of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) has kicked off in Windhoek spotlighting Namibia’s energy sector while enhancing collaboration, knowledge, and investment linkages to drive socioeconomic development.
The tone for the conference was set in a welcome address by the Managing Director of strategic advisory firm – and founder and convener of the NIEC – RichAfrica Consultancy, Ndapwilapo Selma Shimutwikeni.
On the heels of recent significant hydrocarbon discoveries in Namibia, Shimutwikeni highlighted the southern African country’s burgeoning role as a specialist in foreign policy while optimally benefitting from collaboration and the exploitation of its natural resources.
“Just like the baobab tree, this conference is the meeting place for the people of many African countries to speak and listen and overcome our differences to promote the development of our energy sector,” Shimutwikeni stated, adding, “As a specialist in natural resource foreign policy, as well as having a passion for Namibia to develop its resources for socioeconomic development, I am pleased to see the NIEC grow and attract interest from all over the world.”
Shimutwikeni’s welcome address was followed by opening remarks by the Acting Executive Director for Namibia’s Ministry of Mines & Energy, Bryan Eiseb, who discussed the Government’s dedication to leveraging the southern African country’s diverse energy potential to promote self-sufficiency by building new domestic generation capacity and developing interconnectivity systems.
“With the knowledge and the expertise around the conversations over the next few days, there have been pioneers before us, but we must be allowed to digress towards a path that we will pave for ourselves. It is common knowledge that Africa has not optimally benefitted from the exploitation of our natural resources. So, when we have conversations around shaping the future of energy, we should promote conversations around inclusivity,” Eiseb stated.
Serving as the leading agency in attracting private investment in resources exploration and development, Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy is responsible for the management of the country’s mining, petroleum, and geothermal industries. The Ministry formulates policies and legislation that effectively regulates the energy sector while providing services to stimulate investment for sustainable economic development for the benefit of all Namibians.
What’s more, in the wake of recent major oil discoveries such as the Graff-1 oil exploration well in Block 2913A, situated in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia, the southern African country is well-positioned to attract significant foreign investment. Discovered by oil and gas supermajor Shell in early-2022, the Graff-1 discovery is estimated to contain between 250 and 300 million barrels of oil, representing a turning point for the country’s energy sector.
“We proved a working oil system in Namibia, but also proved the presence of light oil, which has been a massive milestone for Namibia,” stated the Country Chair for Shell Namibia, Dennis Zekveld, who delivered an address as part of the conference’s opening remarks. He added that, “The reality is, we need to serve a purpose. We need to take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘What is in it for the country?’ We need to drive local economic opportunities in the country, drive local content development, and promote opportunities that alleviate poverty. We are committed to maximizing local employment in the country and working with the government towards a multilateral strategy.”
Representing one of the final frontiers for hydrocarbon exploration, Namibia has seen an array of exploration campaigns undertaken over decades. As such, NIEC 2023 is set to drive the industry growth and development.
Taking place under the theme ‘Shaping the Future of Energy Towards Value Creation’ and with the African Energy Chamber as a strategic partner, Namibia as a destination for energy investments will take center stage during the two-day conference, which is set to take a closer look at global and continental energy perspectives and their impact; the latest developments in the oil and gas industry; the status of the power and electricity market; the role of natural gas; as well as the future of renewables.
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