Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo this week said establishing a local oil refinery will not promise cheap fuel for domestic consumption. He made these remarks on Tuesday in response to a question from United Democratic Front (UDF) parliamentarian Themistokles Murorua in the National Assembly.
In his response, Alweendo assured the National Assembly that government may consider establishing an oil refinery, but noted this decision will be taken at the later stage.
"Right now, no oil has been found. Only when it is found than we can enter an agreement with the company. It does not mean when we have a refinery here, we will have a cheaper product. We could consider that if and when the oil is found," Alweendo explained.
Canadian oil explorer ReconAfrica, with its joint venture partner Namcor, has confirmed a conventional petroleum system in the Okavango Basin, and the companies are now attempting to establish the availability of commercial quantities of the 'black gold'.
ReconAfrica's results on a mud logging report and geochemical analysis confirmed its initial findings, pointing to hydrocarbons in its first two test wells.
The Canadian company started drilling on the first of three wells in January, asserting that the Okavango Basin is capable of producing billions of barrels of oil.
Meanwhile, when the National Assembly resumed duties this week, Murorua wanted to know whether government has set out a condition for ReconAfrica to establish an oil refinery for Namibia to produce its own fuel.
"Or, are we going to export raw oil and buy fuel back at a high price? In absence of that condition, the government of Namibia must have a plan to put up a refinery," Murorua added.
Last month, co-founder of Renaissance Oil Corporation, ReconAfrica's parent company, Craig Steinke, paid a courtesy visit to President Hage Geingob at State House. During the meeting the President said ReconAfrica could potentially add significant growth to the Kavango East region's economy and add substantial value to the national economy.
Geingob also stated that the investment would create much-needed employment in the region, and it will significantly contribute to the alleviation of the high poverty rate the area has been experiencing.