Windhoek, Namibia — 29 April 2013 – Namibia Power Corporation, a state-owned electricity supplier, plans to sell 49% of the US$$1.1 billion gas-fired power plant it is about to build.

By March 2014 the government will announce the winning bidders for the engineering and design of the Kudu gas field, and the construction of the 800-megawatt (MW) plant it will feed, Bloomberg News quotes project manager Muyenga Muyenga as saying.

The offshore field is about 200km off the southern Namibian town of Oranjemund, according to the Mines and Energy Ministry.

“The rough estimated cost of the Kudu gas-field development will be about US$1 billion, and the rough estimate for the Kudu power station is about US$1.1 billion,” he said.

“NamPower currently has 100% shareholding in KuduPower (Pty) Limited, and it is in the process of farming out 49% to prospective strategic equity partners,” he added.

The government of Namibia plans to exploit offshore gas fields to produce electricity and reduce reliance on imports, which comprised 53% of power used in the year through July, NamPower said in its 2012 annual report. The country will probably face a power shortfall in 2016 because of growing demand, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The government also wants to reduce its 54% interest in the Kudu gas field to 30%, managing director Obeth Kandjoze said.

NamPower held informal talks with Maamba Collieries Limited “’ the Nava Bharat Singapore Pte Limited unit that is building a coal mine and power plant in Zambia  over the potential construction of another 300MW plant, said Reiner Jagau, the general manager of power-system development at the utility. The plant would be built near Katimo Mulilo, on the Namibian side of the border it shares with Zambia, burning coal imported from Maamba, he said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“Namibia cannot afford two base-load power plants such as Kudu and coal,” Jagau said. “Currently, NamPower is concentrating its efforts to finalize the Kudu feasibility study to be able to take an investment decision by the first quarter of 2014.”

The government wants the first gas production from the offshore field by 2018. Exploration off Namibia, where 18 wells have been drilled, has so far focused on Kudu, still untapped since its discovery in 1997.

Namibia is the world’s largest producer of offshore diamonds and the fourth-biggest uranium producer. The country had installed capacity of 1,108MW as of July 2012, according to NamPower’s annual report.

Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.