The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR)’s Managing Director Immanuel Mulunga will make a charm offensive to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze in a bid to gain the mandate to import fuel again.
The decision will have to be deliberated on by Cabinet before it is granted, but Mulunga, who is still settling into the hot seat of the once-troubled parastatal, believes the company needs to seriously consider importing fuel if it’s to be financially selfsustainable.
Mulunga told The Villager Newspaper that part of his plans will be to see Government giving Namcor the opportunity to at least import 50% of the country’s fuel needs in the long-term.
“I am seriously considering engaging the minister on the issue, and I’m sure sooner than later we will get a good opportunity,” Mulunga enthused.
“It is rather premature for me to speak about the barrels that we want to import, but we only have to decide whether we want to do the bulk of importation from Angola or elsewhere. The importation of fuel is one of the key methods we can use to make the company profitable.
We believe we should be able to engage with the minister sooner than later, but I would not want to divulge more details as yet,” Mulunga noted.
Government stopped the State-owned company from importing fuel in 2011 during the tenure of then- Minister of Mines and Energy Isak Katali because the parastatal could not sustain its operations, and was also failing to recognise profitability.
Namcor had a 50-50 import agreement with British- based Glencore, but the deal was terminated because it left the company insolvent, without any other potential revenue sources.
Namcor was left grappling with liabilities of US$25 million, trading losses of N$257 million and a technical insolvency amounting to N$216 million after their engagement with Glencore hit a brickwall.
Namcor entered into an importation agreement with Glencore in 2008, but the State-owned enterprise failed to capitalise on the engagement, and also could not find profitability in the engagement.
Last year, Namibia penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their Angolan counterparts to lay the foundation for the country to import oil. Angola is one of the top oil producers in Africa after Nigeria, and has been keen to engage with their Namibian neighbours.
The Namibian and Angolan governments signed the MOU last June for Angola to supply crude oil to Namibia, but then the crude oil would be refined elsewhere and imported afterwards. The delegations at the MOU signing were led by Katali and the Angolan Minister of Petroleum, Jose de Vasconcelos.
Government then wanted Angola to provide Namibia with refined petroleum products, but that country only has the capacity to refine 30% of the fuel they use, and they import oil from other countries to cover the rest of the 70%.
Thus, they are not in a position to supply Namibia. In January 2007, Angola became a member of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) as it produces and exports the highest amounts of petroleum in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to other nations, Nigeria included.
The Angolan government’s budget is made up of 80% oil sales, and is the third-largest trading partner of the United States in subSaharan Africa, largely because of its petroleum exports. 7% of the United States’ oil imports are from Angola.