The prospects for offshore oil and gas exploration have resulted in Namibia becoming a hot spot for hydrocarbon investment in recent years. Meanwhile, the country‚Äôs ambition to become a global hub for green hydrogen development ‚Äď on the back of abundant, co-located solar and wind resources ‚Äď is poised to support value-added industrialisation, economic transformation and regional integration by stimulating exports to international markets.

These developments and more will be unpacked at the Invest in African Energy forum in Paris, where a Namibian spotlight session establishes the country as the premier destination for diversified energy investments.

A quintet of major oil discoveries in Namibia’s Orange Basin have placed the country’s upstream oil & gas sector on the precipice of transformation. The Graff-1, La-Rona-1, Jonker-1X, Lesedi-1X and Venus-1 discoveries were made between 2021 and 2023 through a series of exploration campaigns led by supermajors Shell and TotalEnergies and state-owned QatarEnergy. Last month, TotalEnergies announced its continued exploration in the offshore Orange Basin, with appraisal drilling being conducted south and northwest of the Venus-1 discovery. These efforts have already resulted in the company intersecting hydrocarbon bearing intervals in the Mangetti-1X prospect, drilled 35km from the Venus-1 discovery.

In addition to the Orange Basin, Namibia’s onshore Kavango Basin is thought to hold more than 30 billion barrels of crude oil. Last November, exploration & production company ReconAfrica and its partner NAMCOR (National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia) gained approval for the second renewal exploration period on PEL 73 in the basin, running from January 2024 to January 2026. During this period, ReconAfrica will lead drilling to test the Damara Fold Belt and oil-prone rift plays in the basin.

Meanwhile, oil & gas company 88 Energy signed a farm-in agreement with Monitor Exploration last November to earn up to a 45% non-operated working interest on the onshore PEL 93 in the Owambo Basin. The agreement will involve the acquisition of approximately 200-line-kilometres of low-impact 2D seismic data in mid-2024, along with a potential initial exploration well targeting the Damara gas play in 2025.

With production expected to start in 2026, the Kudu Conventional Gas Field ‚Äď one of Namibia‚Äôs most prolific assets ‚Äď is currently in its FEED stage and will be operated by oil & gas company, BW Energy. Home to 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 the country‚Äôs integrated energy strategy, this exploration blitz has the potential to make Namibia one of Africa‚Äôs major oil & gas producers, while a wave of new seismic activity is poised to attract new independent and junior explorers to its frontier market.

Boasting an abundance of solar and wind resources, Namibia’s plans to expand power generation capacities are expected to see a share of 60% renewables by 2030. Within this timeframe, Namibia aims to install a total of 510MW of grid-connected renewable energy capacity. This ambitious goal will be driven through competitive tenders from local and international independent power producers that will be subject to power purchase agreements with Namibia’s state-owned power utility NamPower and regional energy distributors.

Last December, the government launched a tender inviting consultants to provide services for renewable energy projects spanning solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and battery energy storage systems (BESS). Services will include environmental and social impact assessments and site studies for a number of upcoming solar PV and BESS projects.

Last May, Namibia commissioned sub-Saharan Africa‚Äôs largest green hydrogen production plant. The $10-billion project ‚Äď led by green hydrogen development company Hyphen Hydrogen Energy ‚Äď will be capable of producing 300 000 tonnes of green hydrogen and ammonia and will feature wind and solar plants with a combined capacity of 7GW. This year, the country is expected to complete development of a 5MW pilot plant, which will act as a testing facility for hydrogen production and handling.

Hyphen Hydrogen Energy also signed a deal with finance vehicle SDG Namibia One Fund in December 2023 to secure ‚ā¨23 million in capital, while collaborating with Japan‚Äôs ITOCHU Corporation to enhance the company‚Äôs technical capabilities for successful project deployment.

With production costs estimated as low as $2 per kilogramme, Namibia’s green hydrogen is poised to become the cheapest in the world, making the country an attractive partner for energy-hungry countries in the midst of the energy transition. As a result, Namibia could boost its gross domestic product by $15 billion to 20 billion per year, create over 100 000 domestic jobs, export 14GW of clean power to the Southern African Power Pool and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 million to 60 million tons of CO2 per year by 2040.

Image credit: jcomp/Freepik

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