The highly anticipated Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) is back, and this time it promises to be bigger and more impactful than ever before. The conference, scheduled to take place from 23 to 25 April 2024 at Droombos Estate Windhoek, will unite government officials, private companies, investors and thought leaders from across the globe to unlock the full potential of Namibia’s diverse energy industry.

Under the theme “Reimagine Resource-Rich Namibia: Turning Possibilities into Prosperity”, this year’s conference will shed light on the significant opportunities that Namibia’s recent oil discoveries and growing developments in the renewable energy have brought to the country. A strong lineup of speakers will share strategies on how to transform the country into a regional energy and investment hub, with project showcases, presentations and in-depth industry insights connecting future players to emerging Namibian opportunities.

In recent years, international energy companies and their joint venture partners have discovered valuable oil reserves, setting the stage for a transformative period in Namibia’s economy. Industry giants Shell, TotalEnergies and Qatar Energy – in partnership with state-owned NAMCOR – opened the Orange Basin with their 2022 discoveries, and just two years later, an additional four discoveries have been made. Just this year, Galp Energia’s announced two finds in PEL 83. On the back of this success, new players have entered the market, with exploration & production companies to the likes of Chevron preparing to drill up to 10 exploration and appraisal wells; Pancontinental and Woodside are continuing to probe Namibia’s deep waters; while ExxonMobil has increased its exploration acreage with an additional seven million acres.

Namibia’s upstream opportunities transcend offshore acreage, with companies to the likes of Reconnaissance Africa driving onshore exploration in the Kavango Basin. The company’s exploration licence in northeast Namibia covers an area of approximately 6.3 million acres, and based on commercial success, entitles ReconAfrica to obtain a 25-year production licence.

Anticipating production to commence in the country by 2030, it becomes crucial to have a clear roadmap, create a conducive environment that unlocks the full potential of these resources and establish a framework ensuring comprehensive and inclusive development. The discoveries, exploration interest and promotion of green hydrogen and other energy developments have not happened in a vacuum, but rather, it has happened due to a strong focus on establishing a business-friendly environment for investors to come in. Spearheaded by the government under the guidance of President Hage Geingob, Namibia has become a highly attractive and strategic market to do business.

Selma Shimutwikeni, CEO of RichAfrica Consultancy, and convenor of NIEC 2024, explains that “Namibia stands at a pivotal moment in its history. Our newfound energy resources present immense potential, but they also come with profound responsibilities. We must strategically prepare ourselves to harness the full value chain of these resources. Our theme, ‘Reimagine Resource-Rich Namibia’, encapsulates our vision to create a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for all Namibians and to position the country as a leading energy hub.”

In addition to upstream success, recent developments in Namibia’s energy sector include groundbreaking green hydrogen efforts, innovative technologies, gas-to-power infrastructure and collaborative initiatives. The country’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the growth of the renewable energy sector and long-term power generation plans has also gained international recognition. Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, for example, is working closely with the government to construct a $10-billion green hydrogen project that will produce up to two million tonnes of green ammonia a year. The implementation plan has been signed, setting the stage for a highly successful development.

While projects such as this underscore the potential for large-scale investments, most of the country’s energy opportunities remain untapped, and as Namibia progresses toward becoming a major energy player in the region, NIEC 2024 serves as a platform to discuss strategies, share knowledge, and explore opportunities for further collaboration.

Some of the key topics include exploration updates, local content and skills development, logistics and infrastructure, technological advancements, liquefied natural gas, power generation, green hydrogen and financing the energy sector, and much more. This year’s conference will once again be held under the esteemed patronage of Tom Alweendo, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy. The event is also expected to host a delegation of ministers from energy-rich countries, offering a unique opportunity for cross-border co-operation and networking.

With a track record of attracting more than 2 000 participants, last year’s conference saw a record attendance. The 2024 edition promises to surpass these achievements by delivering rich and engaging content, unparalleled networking opportunities, and valuable insights into Namibia’s energy landscape.

“We are excited to welcome delegates from around the world to this thought leadership platform. Our conference aims to set the agenda for the energy sector in Namibia and beyond. We invite all stakeholders, from investors to policymakers and industry experts, to join us in shaping the future of our nation’s energy industry,” concludes Shimutwikeni.

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