American Contractors Rush to Build Drilling Fluids Factories in Namibia’s Key Port - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

American Contractors Rush to Build Drilling Fluids Factories in Namibia’s Key Port

American oil service companies Baker Hughes and Halliburton have announced separate plans for construction of a new liquid mud plant each in Namibia’s Port of Walvis Bay.

A drilling mud or drilling fluid is a heavy, viscous fluid mixture that is used in oil and gas drilling operations to ferry rock cuttings to the surface and also to lubricate and cool the drill bit. By hydrostatic pressure, the drilling fluid helps prevent the collapse of unstable strata into the borehole and the intrusion of water from water-bearing strata that may be encountered.

Namibia is the flavour of the month in the search for new, large scale hydrocarbon resources in Africa, attracting the biggest oil majors who are committing hundreds of millions of dollars to wildcat exploration drilling in the Orange Basin, in the country’s ultradeep waters.

The drilling fluids in use by the operators, Galp, Shell and TOTAL, are imported into Namibia from neighbouring Angola.

Baker Hughes says that apart from its liquid mud plant, it will install a separate assembly, maintenance and repair base at Walvis Bay to cater to booming offshore exploration activities.

While Baker Hughes has named September 2024 as the date for commencement of its mud plant, Halliburton says that environmental clearance process towards its construction of its “liquid mud treatment and completion fluid plant (LMTP)” has been initiated; it plans to invest $10.5Million) in Walvis Bay for the project.

Halliburton says that its plant will be located at Berth 8 in the Port of Walvis Bay, “identified by NamPort as the best location due to its proximity to the pier for shipping materials, ingredients and final products to and from the facility”.

But Walvis Bay is not the Namibian government’s primary choice of a key logistics base for oil and gas activity.

It is the Lüderitz Bay, the country’s easternmost bay, whose surrounding area was made into a trading station by German trader Adolf Lüderitz in 1893. Mr.  Lüderitz concluded treaties with the neighbouring chiefs, who ceded large tracts of country to him and other newcomers.. Namibia’s port authority, Namport is scouting for its own $64.5Million part of the finance for a Public Private partnership construction of an extension of the quay wall of the Port of Lüderitz Bay by at least 300metres, to accommodate more platform support vessels. The total cost is estimated at around $137Million


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