A logistics specialist delivering for Angola’s IOCs TEY_post_Erwin-KRUECK

Angola has an immense potential to become a logistics hub. Geographically we have a big advantage due to our location in Southern Africa.

Erwin KRUECK Managing Director, Angola ALL BROKERAGE SOLUTIONS

A logistics specialist delivering for Angola’s IOCs

May 6, 2024

Erwin Krueck, managing director of All Brokerage Solutions (ABS) in Angola, talks to The Energy Year about how the company managed to secure a key logistics contract with Azule Energy and Angola’s prospects for becoming a logistics hub. ABS provides ship agency services, Customs clearance services, freight forwarding, warehousing, husbandry services and procurement.

How has ABS’s footprint in the Angolan upstream sector grown in the past year?
We are now the full logistics agent for Azule Energy. That is a testament to the fact that Angolan companies can deliver to international standards. The scope of this contract is mainly around marine agency and freight forwarding. For us, it means that we, as an Angolan company, can take on the big clients like the IOCs, which come with volume and complexity.
We are also agents for DOF Subsea, which has a multipurpose construction vessel that is used to lay down all the infrastructure for the Agogo development. Also, as a consequence of that agreement, we just closed a deal with Baker Hughes for their Customs clearing operations.
At Agogo, we are completing the logistics value chain A to Z, clearing the Customs for the Christmas trees and all the subsea equipment and moving to the specialisation vessel that will install these Christmas trees and all subsea infrastructure.

What are the key attributes needed by a logistics partner to an IOC in Angola?
At the end of the day, the key factors are our commitment to excellence and fast delivery times, as well as the people we bring. We distinguish ourselves with the skillset that we bring to the industry. We want to break out of traditional logistics by bringing on board people with mixed technical backgrounds. As we do so, these people start asking interesting questions that would not occur from staff with a purely logistics background, and new insights can emerge.

How exciting is it to be part of Angola’s first non-associated gas project, Quiluma-Maboqueiro?
It is very exciting. It started slowly in 2023, but 2024 is going to be very busy, all the way through 2025. We need to deliver cargo in a safe and timely manner to be successful. For the first time in Angola, we will be drilling specifically for gas, and we will be building a gas value chain to capitalise on it. As ABS, we are very proud to be part of this project. It’s important for the country, as there is a growing demand for natural gas on the international market.


What is your perspective on the growth of the Angolan upstream sector in the years to come?
MIREMPET [Ministry of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas] and the ANPG [National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency] are clearly determined to increase oil production. This can be achieved through new ventures, such as what ExxonMobil is set to do in the Namibe Basin by conducting an exploration campaign. If ExxonMobil finds the volumes they hope to find in Namibe, then Angola will rise to a different level in terms of long-term oil production expectations, which will drive more investment.
Another side of the story is the need to maintain and even improve the current production levels, which face a decline year on year. We need to drill more and use subsea tie-backs to reduce installation costs. That’s where the Begonia oilfield project comes into the picture, led by TotalEnergies and McDermott, whom we also work with. That’s also where the Azule Energy-led Agogo project comes in. What we foresee is more and more activity, more equipment arriving and more FPSOs for the production side.
Even without extending our services to newer companies, we are sure that more work is going to come from existing clients.

How important is your specialisation in husbandry in the offerings you have for the oil and gas sector?
Husbandry is quite a complicated activity, and managing people has its unique challenges, especially with the volume increases we are facing. Angola’s current airport is quite crowded, particularly when you start having two to three airplanes arriving one after the other. That can create unexpected situations, and we need to be attentive to provide a good service.
In ABS, we have spent a lot of time developing our own software to cope with the demand. If you want to do husbandry successfully, it’s all about resource allocation. That means looking at when you are going to have your peaks – that’s when you need to have more drivers and more cars. Having them available throughout the day means you’re not maximising the fleet.

After the 2021 inauguration of your Viana warehouse, are there any more investments on the horizon for ABS?
Most probably we will be investing more in warehousing facilities. We started Viana in late 2021, and we knew the returns would be quite slow. We are agents of Sonatide, which is using our warehouse heavily to consolidate cargo and then dispatch to the several vessels they have in Angola. The investment is now paying off, and that facility also has the potential for expansion. We’ve been involved in tenders with other companies for whom we can offer a similar service.

What is the potential for Angola to become a competitive logistics hub for the region?
Angola has an immense potential to become a logistics hub. Geographically, we have a big advantage due to our location in Southern Africa. What really needs to happen is proper collaboration throughout the SADC [Southern African Development Community] – the collaboration that we’ve been talking about for many years.
There is a need for more investments in railway and road projects to connect SADC countries. A good terrestrial link to South Africa would certainly increase Angola’s economic potential.
Most of the cargo is still being shipped by vessel, which means a lot of vessels, and a lot of these are owned by international companies, but those vessel frequencies are correlated with the number of ongoing oil and gas projects, which rises and falls cyclically. By contrast, railway line alternatives would mean that all kinds of goods can benefit from a faster delivery that is not impacted by the frequency of the vessels.

What are ABS’s key objectives for 2024?
Primarily, we want to sustain our growth. We’re not really going after new players, because what we have is already a lot, in the sense that all the players that we work with have guaranteed growth in 2024. There will be a need to accommodate more people, to transport more people. We are currently increasing our workforce to accommodate the volumes of cargo which will be arriving in the coming months. We need to have our machines well-oiled for this new chapter in our industry.
We are carefully selecting the tenders, paying attention to the added value we can bring and to whether we can use our major workforce to accommodate more volumes in a very efficient way.
We understand that 2024 will be a make-or-break year, in the sense that the volumes will be such that all companies on the market will need to grow based on existing contracts, as opposed to trying to get more contracts. That is our main focus.

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