By Hilary Mare
MINES and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo and his South African counterpart Jeff Radebe recently engaged on how best to unlock the Kudu gas reserves from a regional perspective, Confidente has learnt
The engagement which took place at the meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) energy and water Ministers in Johannesburg last month, was to seek ways in which South Africa’s Eskom could come on board the Kudu Gas project and commit to purchasing some of the power that would be produced by the project.
Recently, NamPower announced that Namibia would reduce the size of the planned Kudu Power Station after off-take agreements with Eskom and Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation failed to materialise.
Speaking to Confidente this week, Alweendo confirmed that bilateral talks highlighting that the idea was to explore if what had failed to happen in Eskom declining an off-take agreement,could be turned around and happen.
The Minister added that they were also trying to look at it from a position where governments spearhead the available regional gas projects, rather than leaving them in the hands of the parastatals.
“The idea is if we have gas reserves in SADC, the best way to explore them is to have a collaborative effort rather than an individual effort and this, we need to do from the start,” added Alweendo.
Following the meeting, Confidente understands Radebe stressed that South Africa would be adopting a regional perspective to the gas opportunities.
Namibia’s offshore Kudu Gas Fields have proven and probable recoverable reserves estimated at more than 3,3 trillion cubic feet and are key to the country’s plans to reduce its dependence on electricity imports.
NamPower Chief Executive Officer SimsonHaulofu said the decision to resize the power plant from 850 MW to 442,5 MW was made considering the power demand load forecast for Namibia.
“The decision was also made to address the need for the project’s reliance on export agreements to reach financial close. The export agreements were one of the issues that delayed the project as they took forever,”Haulofu said.
In a statement issued following a workshop on how to develop a regional gas market and infrastructure, the SADC Energy Ministers endorsed a proposal to strengthen energy cooperation and to enhance the contribution of gas in the regional energy mix.
The Ministers also endorsed the development of a Regional Gas Masterplan, as well as the harmonisation of the policy and regulatory framework to promote gas trading and infrastructure development.
SADC deputy executive secretary, Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, said that a draft masterplan should be produced within the next 12 months and stressed that it would be the product of consultation not only with member States, but also with the private sector.
Gas also emerged as a central theme of the broader meeting of energy and water Ministers, held in preparation for the thirty-eighth summit of the SADC Heads of State and government, scheduled for Windhoek in August.
The integral relationship between energy and water security was highlighted by the Ministers, along with the need to eradicate energy poverty and improve access to clean and safe water.
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