Namibia to Consider Oil Refinery

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK WITH all the hassles facing the Namibian fuel industry, the Ministry of Mines and Energy has requested NAMCOR to commission a feasibility study on the establishment of an oil refinery. For the past few months, NAMCOR has been inviting reputable companies to submit proposals for the project that once established, would assist the country in supplying petroleum oil by-products. Responding to New Era’s questions on the refinery, the ministry through the executive chairman of Namibia Strategic Business Communications (NSBC) Ferdinand Tjombe said the request made by the Government to the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR) has a dual purpose. According to Tjombe, the study would “firstly assist the Government in formulating an understanding on the position around whether an oil refinery is viable for the Namibian market”. Given that, this study is further aimed at providing answers to the Government to assist would-be-investors in this venture. Moreover, the study would evaluate the viability of a refinery, and if so would serve as a basic premise from which investors could solicit their own private initiatives around the commissioning of a refinery, he said. Presently, the country does not have an oil refinery and solely depends on South Africa for its petroleum needs. This according to Tjombe puts Namibia in a vulnerable position. “An oil refinery in Namibia is a necessity really,” he said, adding that the proposed refinery would be at the coastal area. Should the refinery be set up, it would essentially be an export refinery though the study would look at all facets of the market. Possible petroleum by-products that would be beneficial to the country would be among others petrol (mogas), diesel, jet fuel/dual purpose, kerosene DPK, kerosene, heavy fuel oil, lubricants and solvents. It is not clear who would set up the refinery or the costs. All these would be determined by the outcome of the study.