N$21bn oil refinery mooted

Comsar, owned by Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov, wants to build the refinery in Walvis Bay.

02 August 2019 | Banking

Russian energy company Comsar, owned by billionaire Rashid Sardarov who was last year controversially granted a 99-year lease for four farms he purchased and then donated to the Namibian government, is planning to construct Namibia's first oil refinery.

According to a presentation, the refinery will provide an energy source for a planned 250 megawatt power plant and a 30 000-cubic metre desalination plant, which the company says would be sufficient to serve Walvis Bay and Windhoek.

The company made the announcement at the Namibia Economic Growth Summit yesterday.

The planned investment, which it expects to complete in 2024, will include a desalination plant and is expected to set the company back US$1.5 (about N$21.7 billion).

The refinery is planned for Walvis Bay, the company said during a presentation at the summit.

“The capacity of the refinery will be for two million tons of crude oil. We will burn heavy fuel oil (HFO) to produce electricity for an intended desalination plant,” Comsar said.

“We will desalinate the water with the electricity we produce; this is the future for Namibia.”

The electricity produced, Comsar said, would also be earmarked for export to neighbouring countries.

The company said its prices for electricity would be lower than what NamPower is currently paying for imports.

It said it would take up to 40 months to complete the project and require a workforce of up to 1 000 highly skilled people.

“Namibia will become an exporter of energy. This is a win-win project for government and for the investor,” Comsar said.

Secretary to cabinet George Simataa also announced the summit, which ended yesterday in Windhoek, was able to attract N$20 billion in committed projects and N$26 billion in pledges.



Land lease deal

Sardarov, who already owned a 28 000-hectare Dordabis property on which the state-of-the-art game ranch known as Marula Game Lodge at the time, re-entered the media spotlight last year, when it emerged he had purchased four farms, donated them to the Namibian government and was then granted a 99-year lease for the properties.

The deal was signed 13 days before Namibia's second national land conference, which spoke out strongly against foreign ownership of land.

Sardarov paid N$2 500 per hectare for four farms totalling around N$43.5 million.

Farms Rainhoff, Kameelboom and Smaldeel, totalling 11 402 hectares, were sold as a unit for N$28.5 million while Farm Wolfsgrund was sold for N$14.9 million and is 5 989 hectares in size.

Under the lease agreement Saradov pays N$160 168 in rent for the first quarter of each year in 2018/19 and thereafter the land tax paid by owners of commercial farms must be paid. Sardarov now has in his control slightly more than 45 000 hectares of land in Namibia.

OGONE TLHAGE

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