In Namibia, It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

A large gas field in Namibia, discovered by Chevron in 1974, has remained undeveloped for over four decades. Namibia’s national utility company, Nampower, currently imports anywhere between 60 to 90 percent of its power throughout the year to supplement that created by its largest generation asset, a 240-MW hydroelectric plant on the Angolan border. Last year, all the pieces finally appeared to be in place for the long-anticipated development of the idle Kudu field. But hopes were dashed again when the operator, London-based Tullow Oil, announced in November 2014 that it would abandon its 31% equity stake in the project.

More recently, on 29 October Namcor, the state owned energy company, announced that the Kudu field is now officially gearing up for production. The gas will be piped to a proposed 1,050-megawatt plant that will more than double Namibia’s power generation capacity. The plant is also expected to export excess power to neighboring countries including South Africa. And with Eskom often cited as the world’s worst utility, the assistance will surely be needed. Both Nampower and Namcor appointed new managing directors this summer. If preparations go smoothly, the project could be a big first notch in their respective belts.

A day after the Kudu field announcement, the 1990s R&B sensation Boyz II Men arrived in Windhoek, the capital, for the first time to play in front of a sellout crowd at the rugby stadium in Namibia. It’s likely that show was another production that the southwest African nation has been waiting almost 40 years to see.

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