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Namibia has a fledgling upstream industry with probably more gas than oil potential. It has, however, a very well established downstream oil-marketing infrastructure. Historically the country has always been closely tied to South Africa and the downstream industry was for many years treated as an extension of the South African system with industry data still coordinated by Caltex South Africa. Namibia has no refinery for its downstream and is dependent on imports from South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire. Namibia is a member of the South African Customs Union. The Petroleum Products and Energy Act, 1990 controls activities in the downstream sector.

Namibia is underexplored with seven onshore and eleven offshore wells. The only significant discovery to date has been the Kudu gas field operated by Shell.

The state-owned National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) is the national oil company which functions as a part of the Ministry and works with it to promote the country’s acreage. It also acts as an advisor on national petroleum policy and has the capacity to act on behalf of the state as its commercial arm. The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) regulates the Namibian oil industry.

Extraction of Crude Petroleum

Offshore exploration began in 1968 when the area was held under concession by various operators and resulted in the discovery of the Kudu gas field by Chevron in 1973. For political reasons, further exploration and appraisal work was halted until 1987-1988 when the forerunner of the current state oil company, National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR), drilled a series of appraisal wells. Further exploration did not resume again until after Namibia achieved independence.

In August 2004 the government of Namibia signed a Reconnaissance License with hunt Oil for the right to carry out petroleum reconnaissance operations in the Lüderitz Basin, offshore Namibia. The license covers approximately 48,000 square kilometers (11.86 million acres) of the offshore part of Namibia, west of the town of Luderitz. The water depths in the License range from 200m to 3000m.

In March 2005 EnerGulf Resources entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia to establish a working relationship with regard to joint ventures in oil and gas exploration, development and production opportunities in Namibia, in particular Block 1711, and gas to liquids and related opportunities. Under the terms of the MOC, NAMCOR has granted to EnerGulf an option for up to 25% of NAMCOR's interest in Block 1711.

Oil & Gas Companies

The National Oil Company, NAMCOR, controls the exploration activities for oil and gas upstream by way of a bidding process while the international oil companies do the actual exploration. The Namibian government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy facilitates a privately run downstream oil business. At the moment there are five oil companies involved in the marketing of petroleum products in Namibia:

  • BP Namibia Limited
  • Caltex Oil (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd.
  • Engen Namibia (Pty) Ltd.
  • Shell Namibia Limited
  • Total Namibia (Pty) Ltd.

Key Figures

  • Oil production: 0 bbl/day(2008)
  • Oil Consumption: 21,000 bbl/day(2008)
  • Oil Exports: 0 bbl/day(2007)
  • Oil Imports: 19,120 bbl/day(2007)
  • Oil Proved Reserves: 0 bbl(2009)
  • Natural Gas Production: 0 cu m(2008)
  • Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Consumption: 0 cu m (2008)
  • Natural Gas Proved reserves: 62.29 billion cu m(2009)

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