Interest in petroleum exploration licences increased

18 Nov 2013 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 18 NOV (NAMPA) - The issuing of Petroleum Exploration Licenses (PELs) in Namibia has grown significantly, and the country now has over 50 active petroleum licenses.
This was said by Mines and Energy Minister Isak Katali, in a speech which was read on his behalf by his deputy Willem Isaak, at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Petroleum Training and Education Fund (Petrofund) in the capital on Friday.
Katali said there is a crucial need for a co-ordinated programme of capacity building in the petroleum industry.
He explained that currently, exploration licenses are issued as soon as due diligence is conducted by the Government Negotiation Team (GNT).
A Petroleum Agreement is then signed by all parties and all relevant payments are made, including the training levies remitted to the Petrofund.
Katali attributed the increase in PEL interests to the introduction of the Open Licensing System as well as the steady demand of hydrocarbons globally.
“This has led to exponential growth in the PELs under the management of the Ministry of Mines and Energy. From only less than five PELs in the early to late 1990s, Namibia now has over 50 active petroleum licenses of which 39 were issued since 2011,” he said.
Katali also said that drilling activities have equally improved and he commended PEL holders for taking the risk of drilling, as the drilling of hydrocarbons is a very costly undertaking.
Katali added: “The plans to extract the resource for commercial and domestic use are progressing well. The Kudu Gas project is a viable strategic energy source that can potentially reduce the country’s dependence on external energy supplies and propel economic prosperity.”
He said it is thus imperative for the petroleum industry to be proactive in making sure that relevant skills are readily available in the event of a hydrocarbon discovery as well as to support the roll-out plans of the Kudu Gas Power project.