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Namibia Considers Taking Stakes In Local Mining And Oil Companies

Namibia, where major offshore oil discoveries have been made in recent months, is weighing the possibility of taking minority stakes in miners and oil producers in the African country to benefit more from its natural resources, Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo has said.

“We are making a case that local ownership must start with the state, which holds ownership of our natural resources,” Alweendo told Namibian lawmakers on Monday, which led to sharp drops in the shares of Australia-listed mining companies operating in Namibia on Tuesday.

Namibia is a major diamond producer, one of the world’s top uranium producers, and is estimated to have large hard rock lithium deposits.

“The proposed state ownership should take the form where the state owns a minimum equity percentage in all mining companies and petroleum production, for which it does not have to pay,” Alweendo said, as carried by Reuters.

Oil and gas supermajors Shell and TotalEnergies have recently made some large discoveries in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia.

Earlier this year, Shell, QatarEnergy, and Namibia’s state oil firm NAMCOR discovered light oil in a deepwater exploration well.

Last year, Shell and its partners made two discoveries in the same basin, the Orange Basin.

French supermajor TotalEnergies also made a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect in the Orange Basin early last year. Venus in Namibia could be a “giant oil and gas discovery,” TotalEnergies said in an investor presentation last September. Appraisal and testing are slated for 2023. 

The giant discoveries offshore Namibia could make the country the next producer of oil.

Namibia could consider joining OPEC if recent offshore oil discoveries prove to be large enough for commercial development, Namibian petroleum commissioner Maggy Shino told Bloomberg in October. Namibia is the southern neighbor of OPEC member Angola.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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