OPEC eyes Namibia as African country plans oil production in 2030 

22 04 2024 | 06:54Michael Ndu-Okeke

After losing Angola and other key players, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has set its eyes on Namibia for possible membership after a significant amount of oil was discovered within its shores.  

The latest discovery of oil in Namibia would easily make the country the fourth largest oil exporter by output by the next decade, according to an African industry official.  

Reuters reported that Total Energies and Shell have, in recent years, made discoveries estimated at 2.6 billion barrels of oil, placing the South African country in a good position to plan production from about 2030.  

OPEC’s main goal is to see Namibia join its charter of cooperation and engage in long-term dialogue about energy markets. Brazil joined the charter in January.  

OPEC would like to see Namibia become a full member, said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, while he said he had been involved in facilitating talks between the two sides.  

Meanwhile, OPEC Secretary-General, Haitham Al Ghais, was quoted in February as saying OPEC was holding talks with several nations on joining the charter, without naming them.  

OPEC in a tweet at the time said Al Ghais met Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, at a conference in Nigeria where the prospect of OPEC and Namibia working together “under the umbrella of the charter of cooperation” was raised. 

Last year, Namibian Petroleum Commissioner, Maggy Shino, expressed her interest in seeing Namibia join OPEC, according to a report by S&P Commodity Insights, known as Platts.  

However, in March 2024, Minister Alweendo told Reuters that OPEC membership for Namibia was not on the cards and does not want to be drawn into the debate.  

  • “We haven’t been approached by anyone to join OPEC. OPEC members are petroleum exporting countries and we are not there yet,” he said. “That is a consideration only after we have started to produce.” Alweendo said. 

Talks between both parties are expected to continue into late April with the debate being the key topic in an upcoming Namibian Energy conference with high-ranking OPEC officials in attendance.  

What to know  

  • About 2.6 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Namibia this decade so far, according to Pranav Joshi, an energy consultant at Rystad Energy.
  • Apart from Total and Shell, other energy companies like Chevron, Rhino Resources, Eco Atlantic Oil and Gas and Galp Energia are all conducting exploration and appraisal activities in Namibia.  
  • By an estimate on the existing discovery, Namibia is expected to produce about 700,000 barrels per day of peak production capacity by next decade.