A cleaner, more sustainable oil and gas sector in Angola

As an industry we need to continue raising awareness about the importance of sustainability and environmental protection in the Angolan oil and gas sector.


A cleaner, more sustainable oil and gas sector in Angola

June 15, 2023

Matuzalem Sukete, general manager of Angola Environmental Serviços (AES), talks to The Energy Year about the market’s reaction to the company’s new processing activities for naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) and the growth expected in the radioactive waste segment. AES provides environmental and integrated waste management services for the oil and gas and mining sectors.

How has the market reacted to the NORM processing activities Angola Environmental Serviços introduced two years ago?
The reaction has been very positive. We have been carrying out these operations with extremely high levels of environmental and human safety. We have involved different stakeholders in this process and have managed to do a significant amount of decontamination that is approved and certified by the regulatory authorities. A large amount of scrap metal has been decontaminated and revalued for other uses.
One of the major focuses that AES is working on now is waste valorisation. This has been an important contributor to reducing the volume of stored waste and creating value from it as an important component of the circular economy.
AES has received demonstrations of interest from many companies experiencing similar challenges who are counting on AES’ collaboration to overcome such challenges. AES has the objective of reducing the waste volume that go to the landfills by 70% within the next seven years.
Currently AES is not attending to every existing NORM problem in Angola but is rather giving prime attention to elements of quality and safety, which are of paramount importance for AES. We’re avoiding biting off more than can be chewed at the moment, but shareholders are keen to invest more to improve and ensure that the existing needs are attended to for a better environment.

How much growth do you see in the radioactive waste processing segment?
The economic development of Angola is a primary objective of all Angolans and will elevate the lives of all citizens. The extractive industries of oil exploration and mining are a path to this. The authorities want this to be done responsibly, and AES NORM waste services are a part of enabling this.
AES has built up processing capacity, systems and processes to offer compliant NORM operational waste services with the capacity to meet client needs with the same high global standards we have historically had in the oil industry.

What are the updates on your projected new landfill site?
It will be a multipurpose site consisting of 150 hectares. Mainly it will be used for landfilling, but its size gives us the option to carry out multiple other activities with different infrastructure.
A challenge faced at this preparation stage was the unexpected need that arose for sweeping the land for explosives. We will soon be able to continue with our development projects, which have been frozen for about a year. Everything remaining stable, we still look at 2024, probably the end of that year, as the time when we will have significant operations there.


How has the involvement of AES in Angola’s upstream sector evolved?
Activity has been increasing, and in 2022 there were significant advances in terms of new projects. Performance has been better than we initially projected, and this year there are some new projects by the operators, so there will be a further increase in activity for us as well. We are ready to respond to that.
AES is very involved in projects associated with drilling. Drilling is what is needed to maintain the production levels of oil and gas in Angola. When we talk about increasing drilling activities, this in principle impacts every other activity.
Finally, as an industry we need to continue raising awareness about the importance of sustainability and environmental protection in the Angolan oil and gas sector. Of course, AES is here to continue providing support.

What investments did AES make in 2022?
In 2022, we made an additional investment for the acquisition of new equipment to respond to the expected increase in activity in the oil and gas industry.
Moreover, we have implemented further automation to reduce human interaction and improve safety by altering some manual handling processes into more automated processes.

What is your strategy for geographical expansion?
AES shareholders are very keen to expand to different locations. Some elements do require some careful analysis, and caution is being exercised. AES has been contacted by different countries around the world and those who have monitored AES’ performance over the years and understood the value that can be transferred to them through AES’ experience and know-how.
Most of these solicitations have come to AES in the form of an invitation to establish ourselves there to help make similar history in terms of environmental preservation. This is certainly very positive, and AES is willing to share and export this legacy. There are yet other areas in Angola that AES will expand to in order to ensure that the needs of proper environmental preservation and waste management are attended to using the best available technologies.

Is AES planning to bring any new technologies to Angola?
AES is involved with different technical partners in research and development projects to bring innovation to the industry and solutions for what currently seem to be major challenges. Certainly, there will be good news in the near future about innovative technologies for improving the services of the industry. AES is the leader in the waste management sector for oil and gas in Angola.
However, we are not comfortable with just being the leader. We want to drive innovation. Innovation is the key for growing, delivering solutions and opening up new niches of activity. This is part of our philosophy.

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