TOGY talks to
Bet on AngolaApril 18, 2018
Gonçalo Janota, the senior vice-president of Nukoil, talks to TOGY about the cancelled onshore bidding round, competition in the Angolan market and the outlook for future projects. Nukoil is an Angolan company specialising in acquisition and interpretation of seismic data.
• On partnerships: “Today the buzzword is reduce costs, so if you want to reduce costs, you should go with Angolan companies, at least in a JV. You should put everything together and start a business. Foreign companies complain about the high costs of Angola, so let’s start a joint venture.”
• On the business climate: “Angola is more than open. We need to adjust some laws and rules and the government is working on that, but all nationals and international companies should come because this is the right moment to start a business. It is the time to prepare your company and your personnel.”
• On local content: “We are a small company today, but if you bet on Angolan content, personnel and companies, we will tie with these big companies. The government and Sonangol should bet so that we can grow and be in the same level as these companies.”
Most TOGY interviews are published exclusively on our business intelligence platform TOGYiN, but you can find an abridged version of our interview with Gonçalo Janota below.
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Is Angola a competitive country?
I would say yes, depending on the point of view you are looking from. If you start a business, you will see it is a competitive country, but if you just go as an employee or an observer, you will not understand that. We have competition with international companies. To compete with CGG will be a strong fight. Today the buzzword is reduce costs, so if you want to reduce costs, you should go with Angolan companies, at least in a JV. You should put everything together and start a business. Foreign companies complain about the high costs of Angola, so let’s start a joint venture.
Come and see the Angolan expertise. Angola is more than open. We need to adjust some laws and rules and the government is working on that, but all nationals and international companies should come because this is the right moment to start a business. It is the time to prepare your company and your personnel. It is like building a building; you need to prepare a foundation. This is the right time to do so because the crisis is not going to be over overnight. It is a slow process and you should be here prepared, looking and attentive to let as many people in as possible. I am positive. If you are not positive, it is better to close the store and go home. We have to continue fighting. I have been in the industry for more than 20 years. I believe that the oil situation is going to change. It is not the first time the industry has faced a crisis and it will not be the last.
What is the outlook for the market?
We should be positive and believe that everything is going to go to where we were five or six years ago. This is not just here in Angola; it is a global issue. Other countries are facing the same challenges. If we continue working and making changes to our laws, rules, taxes, prices and so forth, we will, in maybe five years, come back to good times.
There are some issues related to the medium-sized to big Angolan companies. I would suggest Sonangol and the new ministry should bet on Angolan companies. We are a small company today, but if you bet on Angolan content, personnel and Angolan companies, we will tie with these big companies. The government and Sonangol should bet so that we can grow and be in the same level as these companies. If you do not put money into these small companies or put in the investment or stimulate them, you will have the international companies here all the time. There are already some laws related to this, but they should look more to the Angolan small and medium-sized companies.
What has happened with Nukoil’s 25% stake in CON5?
When we acquired the shares, that was not the final discussion we had. We were expecting some points of clarification coming from Sonangol and everything was not yet clear. We were all running to the final projects, but it was not complete yet. When the new Sonangol administration came in, they changed those aspects a little bit. Our hands were tied and we could not work further. The new demands of Sonangol were put on the table for us but they were no good for us. From there, we had to stop and we decided to wait for new opportunities and chances.
We are in standby mode. We address letters to different companies and try different biddings and tenders but almost everything is in standby mode. We had no bids and the main companies are not operating fully. New contracts are not in place. We have the offices and people ready, but because we do not have a contract, we cannot have people in the office and we cannot have anything. We have myself as a senior vice-president, the president and two executives that we interact with. We go to the office and look for new opportunities and we have meetings with different guys, but specifically we do not have anything in place.
We are still talking with Sonangol about these onshore blocks to see when they will open these projects. We are ready and we have the personnel. Almost all the oil companies are putting workers away. We have contact with this personnel. Our people have 20 years of experience in the oil industry and they are ready to start working with us. There are new people at Sonangol and new people in the Ministry of Petroleum and in geology and mining. They are working to have a new direction in the industry, and it is the same thing with Sonangol.
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- From the field