May 21, 2024
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OPEC Eyes Namibia for Possible Membership

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) is considering Namibia for potential membership, anticipating that the southern African nation could become Africa’s fourth-largest oil producer by the next decade, according to industry officials and sources reported by Reuters.

Recent discoveries by TotalEnergies and Shell have identified an estimated 2.6 billion barrels of oil in Namibia, setting the stage for production to begin around 2030. OPEC is initially inviting Namibia to join its Charter of Cooperation, a forum for longer-term dialogue on energy markets. Brazil joined this charter in January.

NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, stated that OPEC+ would eventually like Namibia to become a full member. Ayuk has been involved in facilitating discussions between Namibia and OPEC, describing OPEC’s efforts as a “charm offensive.” However, the outcome of these talks remains uncertain.

In January, OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais revealed ongoing discussions with several nations about joining the charter. A tweet from OPEC mentioned a meeting between Al Ghais and Namibian Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo at a conference in Nigeria, where they discussed the possibility of cooperation under the charter.

Despite these developments, Minister Alweendo, in a March interview with Reuters, clarified that OPEC membership was not currently being considered, stating, “We haven’t been approached by anyone to join OPEC. OPEC members are petroleum exporting countries, and we are not there yet. That is a consideration only after we have started to produce.” Discussions between OPEC and Namibia are expected to continue in April.

Namibia is targeting a peak production capacity of 700,000 barrels per day by the next decade, following the discovery of approximately 2.6 billion barrels of oil so far this decade.

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