Namibia: beware the oil curse
Namibia is sitting on more than $300bn worth of oil at present prices. But unless the state plays smart, this find may be more curse than blessing
Receiving the news that your backyard may hold the world’s largest untapped offshore oil reserves can be a confidence boost par excellence. Not only would it draw the attention of energy-hungry economies such as the US and China, but it would also raise the prospect of rapidly filling state coffers.
Namibia, a nation of just 2.4-million people, recently learnt that exploration for hydrocarbons off its southwest coast may well yield this sizeable bonanza. Norwegian specialist energy and oil publication Upstream Oil & Gas Technology reported on April 26 that UK-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates the recoverable oil reserves at more than 3-billion barrels. At an oil price of $106 on May 3, that relates to a resource worth $318bn — or almost 30 times the size of Namibia’s nominal 2020 GDP in dollars. ..