NAMCOR – Driving Namibia’s Oil and Gas Development
NAMCOR, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia, which operates across the oil & gas value chain, is set to move the country forward with new oil discoveries.
The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia – NAMCOR, is a legally incorporated entity with the Government of the Republic of Namibia as its primary stakeholder. The company is active in the oil and gas sector and serves a variety of customers including the government and parastatals, as well as private companies in the mining, transport, and other industries.
“We are fully owned by the Namibian government, and operate as the state’s vehicle to participate in both the upstream and downstream sectors,” says the company’s Managing Director Immanuel Mulunga.
He explains that in 2021, the company was also awarded the operatorship of the National Oil Storage Facility (NOSF) and Jetty at Walvis Bay, which was constructed with the aim to improve Namibia’s security of supply of petroleum products. Most recently, NAMCOR has entered the downstream retail sector, having opened 11 service stations at strategic locations around the country.
“On the upstream side, we have been going through an evolutionary process, initially playing the role of the government advisor on upstream regulations as part of our mandate under the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, which is our enabling legislation,” adds Mr Mulunga. “The same law allows us to participate in the entire oil and gas value chain.”
Within that mandate, NAMCOR is participating in the exploration and production of oil and gas in Namibia and outside, an area which is now set to be a driving force for both the company and the country’s economic development.
After decades of exploration, in February 2022 NAMCOR and its partners, Shell Namibia Upstream B.V and Qatar Energy, announced the discovery of light oil in both primary and secondary targets at their Graff-1 deep water well in the Orange Basin, offshore Namibia. This was followed by another major light oil and associated gas discovery on the Venus-1X prospect, also located in the Orange Basin in partnership with TotalEnergies.
“Following the recent success of the Graff-1 well for Shell, this second light oil discovery by TotalEnergies has demonstrated the world-class potential of this new play in the deep-water of the Orange Basin, which could be a major game changer for Namibia’s economy and its people,” says Mr Mulunga.
“With regard to their size, these two discoveries are probably in the top 20 discoveries made in Africa in the last couple of decades and are going to make a huge impact on the economy of Namibia, as well as a huge impact on NAMCOR, likely to transform the company into the biggest corporation in the country.”
“We are looking forward to the appraisal programme that is currently taking place, and we hope to accelerate the development and the ultimate production of oil in the next five years.”
Under Mr Mulunga’s management, the company has already experienced major development over the last five years, having grown from a business with under 85 people to a company of approximately 200 permanent and temporary employees. NAMCOR has also grown in financial terms, increasing its revenues by 394% and more than doubling its net balance sheet assets over the same period.
For his exemplary leadership, Immanuel Mulunga was honoured in June with an award and Certificate of Excellence after being voted Namibia’s Executive of The Year for 2021 by the readers of Executive Magazine.
“It is very humbling to be part of NAMCOR’s growth, and part of the creation of a world-class national oil company,” he says.” We expect to grow exponentially over the next two years, on the route to becoming the biggest company in the whole of Namibia, as a result of the equity holdings in the oil discoveries that we have made.”
“We believe, though, that the role of NAMCOR should be wider – namely in supporting the communities that we operate in. Right now, we are increasing our corporate social responsibility budget, and looking at creating a foundation for NAMCOR so that we can give back more to the communities. Our focus will be primarily on education, community development and health, and also sports.”
With its latest development, NAMCOR is transforming from a national oil company into a national energy company, set to play a meaningful role in the global energy transition. The sustainability agenda is part of the corporate strategy, affirms Mr Mulunga, and includes electric vehicle charging points at service stations as well as solar energy to power the headquarters building and the service stations later on. There are also plans to participate in the green hydrogen economy as an equity holder in some of the upcoming hydrogen initiatives.
Immanuel Mulunga admits that managing this exponential business growth has been not only rewarding but also challenging, making sure that the company attracts and retains the talent it needs, and puts measures in place to remain competitive with international companies operating in Namibia.
“Namibia is not a traditionally petroleum-producing country. We, as a national company, have to make sure that this development takes place sustainably, without undue political influence derailing the production of oil and gas over the next five years. Taking and mitigating all the risk is a challenge, but we believe we have what it takes.”
“We will need to hire new people, develop our resources internally but also bring in external expertise to allow for knowledge transfer. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel but bringing in the right skills is something that’s critical, and a key success factor.”
In concluding, he affirms that NAMCOR wants to continue to play a central role in the Namibian economy, to make sure that the recent oil discoveries benefit the entire country, as well as making sure that government continues to play a central role in the oil and gas space. “NAMCOR and Namibia are in a good place, so I’m really looking forward to the future.”