Alweendo clears air on corruption in exploration licences

Tom Alweendo

Minister of mines and energy Tom Alweendo recently addressed allegations of corruption around the ministry’s petroleum exploration licensing process.

Appearing before the parliament, Alweendo acknowledged the critical role of combating corruption while stressing the importance of accurate information.

He said companies may abandon exploration blocks due to a lack of perceived potential or exceeding exploration timelines.
Relinquished blocks are treated as new applications during the reapplication process, he said.

Alweendo highlighted the heightened interest in Namibia’s oil and gas reserves, necessitating a more rigorous approach to licence evaluations.

He said recent licences awarded to Eco Oil and Gas (PEL98) and Oranto Petroleum (PEL106) – both foreign entities – involved joint ventures with a Namibian-owned company, Titan Oil and Gas.

He said Titan holds a minority stake (5%) in these ventures.

Recognising the significant capital required for exploration activities, Alweendo reiterated the ministry’s policy of encouraging foreign companies to partner with Namibian firms.

“Applications are initially received by the petroleum commissioner, followed by a thorough evaluation by a dedicated committee,” he said.

The minister said recommendations are forwarded to the him through his executive director.

“Public access to the licence register, maintained by the petroleum commissioner, in accordance with Section 15 of the relevant act, further bolsters transparency in the process,” Alweendo said.

He also addressed a misunderstanding regarding “relinquished licences”.

The minister clarified that companies may choose to relinquish exploration blocks due to a perceived lack of hydrocarbon potential or exceeding exploration time frames.

“These relinquished blocks are treated as entirely new applications during any subsequent reapplication process,” he said.

Alweendo expressed his hope that the information he provided would effectively dispel any public concerns regarding the integrity of Namibia’s petroleum exploration licence allocation.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News