The fluctuation of oil prices on the international market has forced the Government to establish a strategic fuel storage facility at the coast The Villager has learnt.
Currently the country has the capacity to store 15 days of the national fuel requirement but plans on building the internal bulk storage capacity to store at least for 30 days’.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee on energy security, Ben Amathila said with fuel prices constantly looming in shadows and ever-increasing number of vehicles on the country’s roads the need for a secure fuel supply has become crucial to the country.
“Namibia is not an oil-producing country, but we have to keep on looking until we find oil, because that will help us a great deal if we can find oil and refine our own oil, rather than keep on importing fuel from other countries,” he adds.
To secure fuel in the country 7 billion tenders were recently awarded to three companies.
N$4 billion tender for the construction of a bulk fuel storage facility near the harbour was awarded to a joint venture company that includes the Roads Contractor Company (RCC) and China Harbour Construction Engineering Company.
While the tender for the construction of the new N$3 billion container terminal in the Walvis Bay Harbour was awarded to a Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering Company and Namport.
Meanwhile Government has also invited tenders from geotechnical engineering contractors to carry out an on-shore and offshore geotechnical investigation which will form part of the new Gateway Port Project
The geotechnical investigation will consist of both onshore and offshore Standard Penetration Tests with pore pressure measurements and a range of associated soil mechanics and chemical laboratory tests on the retrieved samples for the new Marine Petroleum Handling Berth (Tanker Berth) to be built at the Gateway Port.
Amadila noted that for a country like Namibia, which is a net importer of fuel (and a ‘price-taking country’, as opposed to a price-setting country), building the internal bulk storage capacity to store at least 30 days’ worth of reserve fuel is considered good practice by international standards.
Highly industrialised countries such as China and the USA tend to store at least 6 months worth of fuel, but at present “We don’t even have anything that meets that 30-day period. So, as a country we are exposed,” he said. The 30-day period will become the new minimum threshold, he explained. Mr Amathila also noted that where necessary the committees of parliament should intervene, by gathering all the necessary technical information they need to be in a position to advise the cabinet in this regard.
Namcor currently runs three fuel storage depots across the country and holds a 9% stake in the wholesale distribution of fuel, but is also looking at establishing a number of fuel stations countrywide. The 75 million litre bulk fuel storage facility will be built on land owned by Namcor to the north of the existing harbour and within the ambit of the new North Harbour, known as the SADC Gateway Port.
A total of 7 tenders were received for the new container terminal on 18 February this year, but one of them, RMB Consortium (FNB of Namibia, RMB Namibia, STD Bank Namibia, Rand Merchant Bank and STD Bank S.A.), did not comply with the tender conditions. The accepted tenders were received from Sin-hy-dro Corporation Limited (China), Construction OAS S.A. (Brazil), China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (China), Walvis Bay Harbour Contractors (Group Five Construction from South Africa, Dredging International N.V. from Belgium and Soletanche-Bachy International from France), CCC-STFA-JDN Consortium (Consolidated Con-tractors Company from Greece, STFA from Turkey and Jan de Nul N.V. from Belgium) with China Harbour Engineering Company the successful tenderer. Apart from the construction of the container terminal on reclaimed land, tender 131/2012 also includes a quay wall, Ship-to-Shore Quay Cranes and dredging at the harbour. Both these long-awaited developments will ensure that Walvis Bay will be the logistics hub of Namibia as it will accelerate the economic development of the coastal region and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group tremendously