ByNamibia is seeking private investment for a 40 billion Namibian dollar ($2.1 billion) port infrastructure expansion after significant oil discoveries made offshore the southern African nation.

The project in Walvis Bay and Luderitz involves the construction of new berths and quay walls to support drilling services, Namibian Ports Authority Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kanime told Bloomberg in an interview in Windhoek, the capital.

“We are hoping to commence with the operation in the last quarter of next year which will take about three years at most,” he said.

TotalEnergies SE and Shell Plc are appraising recent oil finds that could hold an estimated 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie.

Activity offshore the country has accounted for 13% of rigs working in African waters, bolstering its status as an exploration hot-spot.

Namibia could reach its first crude production as early as 2029, state oil company Namcor said. Neighboring Angola is Africa’s second biggest oil producer.

The expansion plans also include building a second port in the town of Luderitz as well as other extensions to cater for multiple-platform vessels.

Namport will provide land for the development and then invite private companies to establish operations, according to Kanime.

“As a port authority we are moving toward a landlord model,” he said. “We want private companies with both technical expertise and financial resources to invest in this space.”

(Editing by Brinda Darasha;