Over time, and with the fluctuations in economic conditions, many companies pulled out of Angola – as a result, there was a mandatory increase in local content requirements for contracts that strengthened our position.
Over and above legislation, there has always been a drive within the company to expand and become an Angolan reference for lifting products worldwide. Throughout the years, we have been able to work with oil majors and develop strong partnerships with them due to the quality, pricing and services we provide. Certex is here to stay and envisage future growth, provided the economic environment and the price of oil is at the right level.
How do your services contribute towards the competitiveness of Angola’s E&P sector and the efficiency of your clients’ operations?
Our services have a competitive advantage because we own the responsibility of purchasing and certifying specific pieces of lifting equipment, which are not part of the core business operations of oil majors. For example, we are the only company in Angola that provides a service called “rigging lofts.’’ We provide this service to any company that needs it, which removes unnecessary obligations to purchase and offers the opportunity to rent from us instead. This makes operations more efficient because clients do not need to track small pieces of equipment that probably will be used once or twice every three months. They can rely on us to supply the equipment and on time. At the same time, we make sure that all those products are properly certified and inspected – ours is a win-win solution for oil companies.
We have also been investing in our infrastructure for the storage of products, many of which are renowned in terms of performance and quality and are simply not produced in Angola. In addition, we have become the official distributor and we maintain equipment in Angola in huge quantities. Because of the Angolanization process, we have been able to train our local labor force to take on technical roles, thereby slowly replacing the more expensive expatriate workforce. We also offer rates that are much more competitive compared to the other players in the market.
What opportunities for business development does Certex Angola foresee in the region?
While there are growth opportunities throughout sub-Saharan Africa, we are interested in making our mark in Angola before we start thinking about the rest of the continent. African oil-producing countries have concessions that may already be at their halfway lifespan, so there is a definite need for reserve substitutions – this means E&P service companies like ours will gain opportunities. Every country in sub-Saharan Africa is working hard to make reserve substitutions to maintain their production levels, or even increase them, and when they achieve this, they will need services like ours.
What factors have enabled Certex Angola to earn the trust of International Oil Companies in Angola?
One of the main factors is our ability to collaborate without compromising our regulator function. The nature of our business with any major is that we are a third-party inspector and certifier of the major’s lifting rules and regulations. To be at that level, we have ensured our staff are well-trained, qualified and understand the language of the operator. We work in a collaborative way with the majors and are part of a team aiming for the highest standards in certification and regulations. This type of relationship builds trust, and if we provide world-class brands that the client is familiar with and have the reliable ability to supply, certify and inspect, this makes the relationship stronger. The key is understanding both the product and the needs of the client to make sure that what we’re doing is exactly what the client requires.
Certex Angola has offices both at the Sonils Integrated Logistics Base and the Kwanda Base. What are the advantages of operating from these two locations?
One of the main benefits is response time because the services we provide are required by companies that are either operating within the base or have their own facilities there. Being physically present at both locations means we are more accessible to our clients.
What opportunities does Certex Angola provide in terms of local content, employment and training for the local workforce?
The key for us is to be in line with the local content laws of Angola because a great deal of what we do requires manpower. For this, we have to train our locals to perform at the same level as expatriates. In this way, we can have more nationals working at the level of inspectors. Our investment in training is ongoing and will continue as more opportunities arise. Currently, our ratio of expatriate to national is about one to seven, which is an improvement from our previous ratio of one to three, across all functions. It is important to note that the training we provide is not restricted to benefitting Certex Angola alone, but also to offer skilled manpower for the entire country.