Oil In Namibia: Balancing Financial Gains and Environmental Concerns

Helena Ndinelago Nepembe

The discovery of an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil reserves off Namibia’s coast in the Orange Basin between 2022 and 2024 is now common knowledge.

According to Namibia’s National Petroleum Company (Namcor), these fields, where Total and Shell have drilled multiple exploratory wells, contain 11 billion barrels of light oil and 2,2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

This discovery could potentially more than double Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2040.

As a conveyancing legal practitioner concerned with safeguarding our clients’ financial interests through securities, the convergence of this discovery and the increasing adverse effects of climate change has sparked significant interest.


One globally recognised safeguard mechanism in the oil and gas industries is environmental protection and monitoring techniques such as green loans and green bonds.

Green loans have long been established as a catalyst available to financial institutions within the oil and gas industries.

Green financing includes a range of financial instruments aimed at funding environmentally friendly projects, such as green bonds and sustainability linked loans designed to support initiatives with a positive environmental impact. Traditionally associated with renewable energy and clean technology projects, green financing is now extending into carbon-intensive sectors like oil and gas.

The world is experiencing a paradigm shift driven by growing awareness of environmental and social concerns.

High-impact industries like oil and gas are facing increasing pressure to mitigate their environmental footprint and embrace sustainable practices.

Green financing is pivotal in driving the oil and gas industry towards enhanced economic and social initiatives.

It incentivises companies to invest in cleaner technologies and adopt more sustainable practices.


Access to green financing comes with specific criteria, encouraging companies to meet stringent standards.

This compels oil and gas firms to incorporate innovative solutions such as carbon capture and storage, methane emission reduction, and renewable energy integration into their operations.

For example, companies seeking green financing might commit to reducing their carbon footprint by a certain percentage within a specified timeframe.

This incentivises investment in technologies that curb emissions, transition to cleaner energy sources and implement operational efficiencies, aligning their actions with broader objectives.

Moreover, embracing green financing can increase the appeal of oil and gas companies to investors, stakeholders, and consumers.

By demonstrating a commitment to sustainability through actions funded by green financing, these companies can mitigate risks associated with climate change.

The impact of green financing extends beyond individual companies.

It influences the entire industry by fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.

As oil and gas companies pivot towards sustainability, they engage in knowledge-sharing and partnerships to develop and implement best practices, driving technological advancements and accelerating the adoption of environmentally responsible practices across the sector.


Despite the progress facilitated by green financing, challenges remain. The capital-intensive nature of the oil and gas industry means transitioning to sustainable practices requires significant investment.

While green financing presents opportunities, companies may face hurdles in aligning their financial strategies with ambitious green goals.

In conclusion, green financing is emerging as a powerful catalyst for driving cleaner initiatives within the oil and gas industry.

By incentivising and directing capital towards environmentally responsible projects, it encourages companies to innovate, adopt sustainable technologies, and improve operational efficiencies.

Addressing the challenges of this transition requires collaboration among stakeholders, consistent regulatory frameworks and a commitment to transparency.

As momentum towards the first oil production in Namibia grows, green financing is a vital tool in reshaping the oil and gas sector for a greener and more responsible future.

  • *Helena Ndinelago Nepembe holds a BJuris and Honours Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Namibia, is an admitted legal practitioner of Namibia’s High and Supreme Courts, and is a recently admitted conveyancer

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