A competitive edge in Angola’s well services marketJune 7, 2022
Raúl Costa, general manager of Tubostrans, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s strategy for competing in Angola’s well services market and partnering with international players, as well as the impact of the country’s new exclusivity and preference regimes. Tubostrans is an Angolan oilfield services and supply company specialising in filtration and wellbore cleanout.
What are the main variables that will define the oil and gas sector’s performance during 2022?
In 2021, the oil and gas industry had a strong recovery with the oil prices reaching their all-time highest levels since 2015. With prices higher than USD 80 per barrel, oil and gas companies are more attracted to investing in new projects.
I feel the next three years will be much better than the previous years because we predict an increase of rigs coming in with more activity in the oil sector. Therefore, the drilling campaigns will have a positive impact on the entire oil and gas value chain. At ADIPEC 2021, I was profoundly impressed by the number of companies expressing their interest in entering the industry here in Angola. During 2022, we foresee an increase of all types of companies here.
For local companies, this means more opportunity with the new ANPG [National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency] regimes of exclusivity and preference for goods and services, which took more than a year to establish. With the transparency and accessibility to this list, we now have a guide to follow. This is good for the companies that are already established in the market and good for new companies that want to join; we are aware of the number of services that we can fulfil. The ANPG can work with operators to effectively implement it and if they do this, we will have a very good outcome.
How much will the new exclusivity and preference regimes contribute to local content development?
First and foremost, I feel this new regime is a great achievement. I sense this is a great win for the local companies. However, in my opinion, it is still too early to tell what exact contributions it will make to local content development. I speak on my behalf only, but I hope that the ANPG will enforce and work cohesively with the operators on this new tool in order for the new regime to be successful. This is a great instrument for us local companies to follow.
For winning tenders, how decisive is it to have an in-country stock of consumables and equipment?
Stocking products and equipment is one of our many strategies for cultivating the operators’ trust. For filtration, we have enough chemicals to cover 8-12 months of work and filters to cover more than 18 months of work. Based off our experience, we realised that if, as a local company, we have the equipment and the tools readily available in the country, we are more likely to win contracts. Operators and the ANPG value companies that are equipped to work immediately. Our strategy will be the same for other services that we will provide in the near future; where we always invest and take a risk in order to show the operators how serious and ready to work we are.
Local players need time to establish trust with international companies and provide a good service without logistical problems. In order to feel prepared, my strategy has been to maintain inventory for at least one year.
What is your strategy to prepare Tubostrans for delivering fishing services?
We are collaborating with a well-known international company that will provide TUBOSTRANS with the necessary equipment, technical support and professional experience necessary to successfully execute fishing and related remedial services for the oil and gas market in Angola. The challenge has been to acquire the right expertise and make a huge investment in the right equipment.
Unlike with filtration services, we wouldn’t attempt to venture into fishing services alone; we would need more insight from international companies.
What are the company’s main contracts for oilfield services?
Currently, we have the contract with TotalEnergies in filtration services and wellbore cleanout chemicals for Block 17. Roemex is the provider for our wellbore cleanout chemicals. I am very humbled and proud to be working as a provider for TotalEnergies because they consider local companies and take local content seriously.
We provide filtration services alone, with three units in the country. TUBOSTRANS has all the needed expertise, consumables and capacitated personnel to operate locally without international support. Secondly, we have a Sonangol P&P (Block 3) workover campaign in partnership with a UAE company.
Tell us about your approach of continuously seeking new international partnerships.
We are a TRACE-certified company with a clean record. I personally like to research new ways to try and stay ahead of the industry. I continuously seek continuing education courses to educate myself, and I ask a lot of questions – learn and network with others who are and have been successful in this line of work. With a lot of gratitude, my business has expanded by action and by word of mouth. Many relationships that I have built have been through one partner introducing me to another businessman and so on. I invite them into my line of work and they can see for themselves what we are all about and the principles that we base our company on: quality work, efficiency and trust.
To avoid a misconception that is usually attached to rising Angolan companies, I always share that our capital came from our sister company PALL, which invested its profits that were generated for more than 25 years of working in oil and gas support services. I strongly believe this is why we frequently receive invitations from companies who want to base their company here in Angola and are interested in partnering with TUBOSTRANS.
What are Tubostrans’ next steps in further diversifying its services portfolio?
The next steps for TUBOSTRANS is the purchasing of dumb iron tools. TUBOSTRANS purchased dumb iron tools from a US company, in the state of Louisiana (located off the Gulf Coast). These tools have already been shipped to Angola and I’m pleased to share that they will be available in Angola very soon. Our goal is to invest in inventory in order to launch as a BHA Tools Rental company.
Simultaneously, we have a partnership with a portable modular offshore cranes company known as Thunder Cranes. This company has been in operation since 1994, which, in my personal opinion shows longevity and I really appreciate what their company principles are. When I was introduced to Thunder Cranes, I had a very good intuition about them that actually drove me even more to want to do business with them.