Oil prices will determine if oil production will happen in Namibia: Alweendo

Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo said the prices of oil in the future will determine if the companies that have discovered oil in the Orange Basin will continue with oil production.

Alweendo, who was speaking at the Swapo Party roundtable discussions here on Sunday, said oil prices fluctuate – currently the price of oil is over 100 USD per barrel while other times it goes down to 20 USD per barrel.

“If it goes down to 20 USD before these companies have decided to actually invest, they may also decide to put their decision on hold because they will want to sell the oil to someone else and if the price is that low, they might decide not to extract the oil, but so far we are positive that will happen,” he stressed.

He said Namibians should understand that there is no oil production happening yet and it might take another five years for production to take place.

Alweendo noted that the Namibian government along with Total and Shell have agreed to establish an oil and gas institution for Namibians to get the necessary skills to ensure that they participate in the oil and gas industry.

“We know that this is a new sector of the economy to us, and we might not have the skills needed so we need to start from scratch. There are currently 270 people on average on the ship drilling, however none of those are Namibians as we do not have the skills yet, but I am informed that there are 30 Namibians that are offering catering services to those on the ship,” he added.

Alweendo further said other services that Namibians can provide to the new industry include logistics, transportation, engineering services, accounting and legal services.

“These are all services that we need to prepare ourselves in order for us to provide them too, now the issue is how prepared are the people of this region, preparation is very important, sometimes we sit back and hope it will just happen, it will not if we do not prepare ourselves,” he said.

Meanwhile, oil and gas specialist and geoscience lecturer at the University of Namibia Southern Campus, Martin Harris said Namibia needs to conduct skills mapping in order to identify what skills Namibians currently have and where the gaps are in terms of skills needed for the industry.

“Luckily for us we still have time because we have five to 10 years before we’ll start production, so from now to then we have the chance to fill up the skills gap so that when the industry gets running, we have competent and qualified people who are able to pick up opportunities in that industry,” said Harris.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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