Written by: Edgar Brandt

The Namibia Ports Authority (NamPort) plans to invest an estimated N$2 billion during the next five years as it prepares for an anticipated energy boom comprising recent oil and gas discoveries and an ambitious green hydrogen initiative. This investment, confirmed to New Era by a NamPort executive, includes new berths and quay walls, as well as an oil and gas supply base in Walvis Bay.  

Although international media reports have reported a massive N$40 billion NamPort investment for this purpose, the authority’s port masterplan shows that this is a figure only to be implemented over the next three decades or longer. 

However, the N$2 billion investment seems to be part of an overhaul of Namibia’s energy supply chain to fully exploit recent oil and gas discoveries. 

NamPort’s executive for port engineering and ICT, Elzevir Gelderbloem, stated that they intend to issue a public tender next year for investors, operators and developers for the oil and gas supply base in Walvis Bay. 

“For Lüderitz, we will invest directly in the expansion of the current port, and we will most likely source funding from development finance institutions when the time comes,” Gelderbloem responded to queries from New Era.  

“When NamPort makes direct investments, such will be funded from development finance institutions most likely. However, most of the funding will be made by the private sector directly with their own sources of funds,” he added. 

“The envisaged port expansion is a multifaceted initiative that encompasses various elements aimed at bolstering our port capabilities. This includes the development of new berths, and improvements in logistical infrastructure. The timeline for the various projects to be implemented over the next 30 years is contingent upon a thorough assessment of actual market demand for moving cargo volumes,” Gelderbloem observed. 

He further emphasised that Namport is dedicated to the expansion of port infrastructure to accommodate the evolving needs of industries and international trade. 

“We value transparency in our endeavours, and will continue to provide updates as our plans progress,” the official pledged. 

Namibia recently approved a Feasibility and Implementation Agreement with Hyphen Hydrogen Energy to develop, build and operate the largest green hydrogen project in sub-Saharan Africa at a cost of around US$10 billion.

To drive the delivery of this project, NamPort is part of an agreement with the Port of Rotterdam, through which three Dutch state-owned companies expressed their intention to develop new export trade relations with the Netherlands and the rest of western Europe. 

The agreement also builds on an existing relationship between NamPort, the Port of Rotterdam and Hyphen in the development of the new plan for the port of Lüderitz. This means the parties will work closely together to deliver on Namibia’s green hydrogen production ambitions.

Meanwhile, an online oil and gas publication last week reported that Namibia’s oil discoveries, made by early this year by Shell and TotalEnergies, could contain as much as 11 billion barrels of oil. 

Describing these estimates as “staggering figures”, Upstream Online said this shows the massive scale of hydrocarbons found by supermajors in the Orange basin. 

“Shell and TotalEnergies have discovered at least 11 billion barrels of light oi,l and up to 8.7 trillion cubic feet of gas in Namibia’s prolific Orange basin over the past 18 months, according to top petroleum officials in the country,” the publication stated. 

Furthermore, Energy Capital and Power last week reported that Namport will set aside land in Lüderitz for development through which the private sector, via public-private partnership agreements, can establish additional port operations under a landlord port model.

With offshore activity in Namibia accounting for approximately 13% of rigs working in African waters, the project is reportedly being designed to support drilling services at the port of Walvis Bay, while the Lüderitz port is expected to provide market access for the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

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