The COG is established to develop competences and capacities in the development of the nascent upstream petroleum and gas industry and support the fledgling downstream side in Namibia.  Some of the skills and competences required by the industry include: Reservoir engineering and well technology; Exploration data contouring, mapping and interpretation; and Pricing and competition and price risk management in the petroleum, oil and gas industry.

In the medium-to-long term, NEI will develop laboratories with pilot plant facilities for research and demonstration.  NEI will, therefore, undertake a focused technical work programme that comprises original independent research and investigations, technical responses to legislation and regulation, workshops and seminars, to provide the local and international industry with information and guidance on relevant technical issues.  Although some of this work will be externally funded, a significant proportion is achieved through the paid services such as training, testing and technical advisory services.

Namibia is extensively exploring for petroleum products offshore and to a limited extent on shore.  The basis of robust petroleum exploration is the vast gas reserves, namely Kudu, on Namibia’s coastline.  Mega projects such as the Kudu Power Station are currently being considered to utilize the huge gas reserves for the country’s economic development. 

Liquid petroleum products are widely used in Namibia’s transport sector while the use of gas is still limited.  Distribution channels for liquid petroleum in all urban centres are well developed and sparsely established in rural areas. 

Upstream petroleum and gas industry, also called the exploration and production sector, involves the searching for potential underground or underwater oil and gas fields, drilling of exploratory wells, and subsequently operating the wells that recover and bring the product to the surface.

Downstream industry involves the refining and processing of the product, trading and distribution of the product and its derivatives such liquid petroleum gas, petrol, jet fuel, diesel, petroleum coke, etc.

MME is responsible for the policy and regulation of the industry.  Downstream gas industry is, unfortunately, not regulated yet.

There are currently no institutions in Namibia and sub-Saharan Africa that are dedicated to providing for the capacity buildings needs of the petroleum and gas sector, save for some general engineering programmes in various tertiary education institutions.  The sector relies mainly on expatriate skills.

2.5.1  Mandate

The Centre for Oil and Gas (COG) will aim to promote and assist the development of a robust internationally competitive Namibian petroleum and gas products industry that operates efficiently, economically and safely in harmony with the environment and community standards.  In fulfilment of this mandate, the Centre will amongst other things:

  • Undertake R&D work in petroleum and gas drilling, natural gas distribution, petrochemicals, and utilisation of petroleum products for developing state-of-the-art petroleum and gas derivatives.
  • Train personnel for exploration, drilling, production and distribution companies, regulatory bodies, hydrocarbon and related industry.
  • Conduct market demand and supply surveys and techno-economic feasibility studies for petroleum and gas products.
  • Assist NSI in formulation of specifications for petroleum and gas products.
  • Provide technical support and technological services to production, distribution and related industries.
  • Assist the petroleum and gas industry in absorption, adoption and selection of technologies.
  • Provide a key link between industry and government to promote awareness and understanding of the petroleum and gas and products industry as well as encourage and influence supportive policies and programs.
  • Promote industry regulation through development and promulgation of industry standards, codes of practice, training and accreditation programs, seminars and conferences.
  • Inform society about policies and activities relating to the industry and its significance to the national economy.

2.5.2 Key Stakeholders

Key stakeholders for the Centre include;

  • MME
  • Petroleum Education and Training Fund (Petro Fund)
  • NAMCOR
  • Namibia Energy Regulator (currently under formulation)
  • Companies engaged in the exploration, drilling, production, marketing and/or distribution and possibly refining of petroleum and gas products.

2.5.3  Strategic Focus

The Centre will have strong infrastructural support for R&D activities and state-of-the-art facilities for analysis, evaluation and testing of crude oil and gas, petroleum products, chemicals and catalysts.  It shall also offer technical assistance to the industry.  Chemical analysis by state-of-the-art equipment and performance evaluation of petroleum products will be conducted on standard engines.  Lubricating oil, fuel saving additives and devices will be evaluated by field trials.  The Centre will conduct specialized training programmes for technical and non technical personnel from policy and regulatory side, drilling companies, petrochemical plants, automotive industry and power plants.  In order to do that, the Centre will have dedicated experienced and qualified staff and shall be equipped with comprehensive state-of-art R&D facilities.

2.5.3.1  Technical Advisory Services and Training

Technical advisory services are required in testing and evaluation of fuels and oils for emission type approval, octane and cetane rating of petrol/diesel fuel and rating of engine components will also be provided.  COG will provide engine oil qualification certificates against NSI specifications.  The Centre shall assist NSI in formulating standards for petroleum and gas products, equipments and devices that use these products.

The upstream Namibian petroleum and gas industry is relatively still at infancy.  Thus, the industry is not spared of shortages in appropriate skills and expertise.  Training is an important aspect of the management function in a rapidly changing economic and social environment.  The industry therefore requires adequate and appropriate training to personnel already in the industry and young graduates coming into the system.   Some of the courses that are going to be offered to the industry on short term basis include:

  • Exploration and production of oil and gas: technical and commercial perspectives
  • Oil and gas industry fundamentals
  • Reservoir engineering and well technology
  • Exploration data contouring, mapping and interpretation
  • Managing risks and strategic decisions in petroleum and gas exploration and production
  • International upstream petroleum fiscal designs and sustainable agreements
  • Economic analysis of natural gas supply chain
  • Economics and trading of the oil supply chain
  • Strategic portfolio management of oil and gas assets
  • Pricing and competition and price risk management in the oil and gas industry
  • Acquiring and divesting oil and gas assets and companies
  • Shale gas and other unconventional petroleum resources
  • Oil and gas project and operations management.