Hammerslacht: Effecting positive change in Namibia's energy sector

Namibia’s pioneering petroleum economist
Hammerslacht stands at the forefront of Namibia's energy sector and is dedicated to assisting Namibia towards a sustainable energy future.
Mariud Ngula
Dugald O C Hammerslacht currently serves as the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) and Namibia's first principal petroleum economist.
He was deployed in the upstream exploration and production department when he joined the company in 2014. Born and raised in Rehoboth, where he still stays with his family, he prides himself on being a reader of books, people and situations.
“My responsibilities at Namcor encompass economic evaluation, financial modelling, stakeholder engagement and strategic analysis of petroleum projects.”

Navigating economics and energy
As a Chevening scholar, Hammerslacht has, over the past two decades, honed his expertise in economics and project management.
He has served as a socio-economist in government and later transitioned to the energy sector. His roles at the Hardap Regional Council, UNFPA, and the veterans affairs ministry provided him with a holistic understanding of development planning and project management.
"I have served as a trustee and director, overseeing various areas including strategy, policy, stakeholder engagement, commercial operations, research, community development, project management, energy management, petroleum economics, business risk management, as well as financial and economic modelling," he said.
Hammerslacht found his inspiration for the energy sector during his tenure at the Hardap Regional Council, where he was involved in development programmes that supply and maintain electricity in settlement areas. Recognising the sector's potential for exponential growth, he pursued specialised studies in energy economics, positioning himself as a pivotal figure in Namibia's energy journey.
“In 2009, I realised that I was at a glass ceiling in government. I then researched fields that I could venture into or specialise in, settling on the energy sector.”

Education journey
Hammerslacht’s academic pursuits reflect his relentless quest for knowledge.
He matriculated at Concordia College before becoming the first person in his household to attend university. His academic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Namibia, a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the University of Free State and a Master of Science in Energy Economics from the University of Dundee in Scotland.
His thirst for learning extends to various certifications and programmes, including a certificate in investment analysis and portfolio management from Unisa, a senior management development programme from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, and a postgraduate diploma in financial planning from the University of Free State.
“I plan to be the first in my household to attain a Ph.D. as well," he said.

Challenges and contributions
According to Hammerslacht, change is the most formidable challenge in his line of work. The industry is still in its infant stages, and as pioneers, they tend to not know what to expect and are left to the mercy of preparing as best they can.
To counter this dynamic nature, he remains undeterred, facing challenges head-on with resilience and foresight. He said the absence of benchmarks in his role necessitated a constant struggle for relevance and impact.
Nevertheless, his pivotal role in projects like the Kudu Project and discoveries in the Orange basin, as well as his contributions to energy policy and legislation, underscore his enduring commitment to Namibia's energy security and economic development.

Unwavering dedication
For aspiring professionals, Hammerslacht emphasises the importance of curiosity, tenacity and integrity. He encourages individuals to pursue their passions, question conventions and remain steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge and excellence.
He lives by the motto: 'Those who want, will', which encapsulates his unwavering determination to effect positive change in Namibia's energy sector.
After a decade at Namcor, Hammerslacht said he is leaving soon to pursue an opportunity in the Middle East working for one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, Saudi Aramco.