“Local Content is Angola’s Strategy for Economic Diversification” – Braulio de Brito, AECIPA’s President

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The President of Angola Oil and Gas Service Companies Association (AECIPA) & Chairman, Angola Oil and Gas Services and Technology Conference (AOTC), talks to Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme, Managing Editor of The Energy Republic about the latest updates and Joint Venture Partnership (JV) opportunities in Angola’s oil and gas industry. Excerpts:

Bráulio de Brito is the Executive Chairman and Founder of Tradinter, an Angolan O&G Service company. He is a well-known Angolan business leader, who has led highly competitive teams within the industry in companies such as Texaco, ExxonMobil, WorleyParsons Angola and Cameron Angola, both in Angola and US.

Bráulio currently chairs AECIPA, the Angolan Association of O&G Service Companies, having in the recent past been recognized as the Personality of the Year of the Angolan O&G Industry among others…

TER: What are the vision, mission, and core values of AECIPA?

Braulio: AECIPA is the Angola Oil and Gas Service Companies Association. Its members are Oil and Gas Service companies operating in Angola. We currently have over 130 member companies, which represents and facilitate collaboration amongst each other, and with all the industry stakeholders, such as the Angolan Ministry for Natural Resources, Petroleum & Gas, Angolan Concessionaire (ANPG – Angolan National Agency for Petroleum, Gas & Biofuels), Angolan Central Bank, Emigration Services and the Operators.

AECIPA is a platform from which all its members are brought together to address common issues within the Angola oil and gas sector. We work responsibly in compliance with all Angolan Laws and Regulations as one of the major promoters for the successful implementation of a strong and robust platform of Local Services and the professional development of local talent.

TER: What are the main areas of opportunities in Angola’s oil & gas value chain?

Braulio: As we well know, Angola is a mature oil and gas province, where we see the presence of all the major Operators and Service companies of the world. Angola offers a stable contractual and fiscal business environment. Thus, given the depth of proven reserves and ongoing projects, operations, and investments to date, I am pleased to say that the whole value chain of the Angola oil and gas industry presents a wide range of business opportunities from the Upstream such as Operations Maintenance & Integrity and other supporting services including Exploration.

Angola has more than 50 blocks opened for licensing till 2025, which is unlocking new opportunities such as Biofuels, Power Generation, Transportation, and Biorefinery project development.

TER: AECIPA stands as a catalyst for business, helping all stakeholders, domestic and international companies, to identify opportunities and the development of business relations. What are the incentives available for foreign companies coming into Angola to establish; and, how does Joint Venture Partnership work?

Braulio: The Government of Angola has set out a very strong business strategy for the promotion of foreign investment, which is coordinated by AIPEX, Anola’s Private Investment and Exports Promotion Agency.

As such, there are several policies and incentives geared toward making it attractive to invest in Angola.

Furthermore, there are several local companies within the oil and gas sector, which are ready and would be more than glad to engage with potential foreign investors to discuss the creation of Joint Ventures (Jvs).

AECIPA can always be a point of access to those companies. It is also important to note that the Angolan Foreign Investment Law doesn’t require a foreign investor to have a local partner before entering the local business environment. However, it’s our understanding and strong recommendation, that a foreign investor is best served if it found and worked with a local partner, as a way to best support its business entry and in-country growth.

Thus, we always recommend that it is paramount to ensure that this local partner brings added value to the organization, not only being able to help navigate the regulatory process of business establishment but also, be capable to add value to the business. For instance, bringing capital, assets, or other forms of cooperation necessary for the success of the business venture.

All in all, it would also be a very powerful way of supporting Angola Local Content, which is part of the Government’s strategy of economic diversification, value creation, empowerment, and development of the local talent and businesses.

TER: Take an overview of Angola’s Presidential Decree 271/20, which approves a new local content regime in the country’s oil and gas sector. What role is AECIPA playing in ensuring national goods and services are well patronized?

Braulio: AECIPA was an integral part of the team drafting this Presidential Decree and as such, we feel that it’s our obligation to ensure that our member companies understand the merits and importance of this regulation.

We have worked very closely with ANPG to ensure that all the services that are deemed to be capable to be carried out by Angolan companies are clearly identified without compromising any operation and contracts.

It’s important to emphasize that this new decree brings a new shift from the previous local content law. The new local content objective is to promote local companies that have the capacity of executing certain works within the value chain of the Angola oil and gas Industry. Thus, contracts are awarded based on merit, quality on delivery, and cost-effectiveness, and not based on some other unmeasurable criteria.

TER: What’s AECIPA’s relationship with International Oil Companies operating in Angola?

Braulio: AECIPA has a very healthy business relationship with the IOCs operating in Angola. More than this, we are indeed a strong partner of all IOCs and Service companies in Angola. We interact with them and of course, with all the other major industry stakeholders in addressing all the common issues in the industry.

TER: In terms of Research and Development, what’s the level of commitment among your member companies?

Braulio: Research and Development (R&D) has been a very important element of our industry, as it enables us to adopt new technologies to enhance our operations for a greater return on investment.

TER: What are your key takeaways from the AOTC 2021; and, what should we be expecting at the 2022 edition?

Braulio: AOTC 2021 was effectively a much-missed event in Angola, which allowed the Angolan oil and gas industry in general and the Service Sector to come together despite the challenges that the Covid-19 has brought to all of us over the last two years. AOTC 2021 is a platform for information sharing, debate on the most pressing issues of our sector, such as Local Content, Technology Developments including the latest updates on upcoming projects in Angola in Exploration, Upstream, Downstream, etc.

The conference was gifted with the participation of Halo Trust project representatives, who have been risking their lives to clear land mines that were left from the civil war in many remote areas in Angola, and making those fields free for farming as well as bringing social and economic prosperity to Angolan citizens.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the institutional support provided by the Angolan Minister for Mineral Resources, Petroleum & Gas, Dr. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, who was represented by the Secretary of State, Eng. José Alexandre Barroso.

We also had the privilege of having Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, APPO’s Secretary-General as a key opening speaker. I and my team are extremely thankful for the contributions and participation of all sponsors, delegates, and attendees, from all over the world, which made AOTC 2021 a success.

We are looking forward to welcoming everyone again, for the AOTC 2022 and continue providing industry recommendations and support to our stakeholders, as well as discussing key issues that are common to the sector, promoting local content, foreign investment, and cross-border collaboration within Africa oil-producing and non-producing countries.