Client-focused FPSO operationsJune 15, 2021
David Anthony Gleave, general manager of Angoil Bumi JV (ABJV), talks to The Energy Year about the company’s approach to FPSO operations and maintenance in the Angolan market and the acceleration of new technology in this field. The Angoil-Bumi Armada joint venture operates the FPSO Armada Olombendo in Block 15/06 East Hub.
What significance does Eni’s new light oil discovery in Block 15/06 have for ABJV/BAB?
Eni’s most recent light oil discovery in the Cuica exploration prospect is part of the Cabaça North & South East Development, which will eventually tie back to the FPSO Armada Olombendo.
Preparations are ongoing onboard FPSO Armada Olombendo in readiness for the eventual tie-back of the new wells. There is a short production outage scheduled for July to facilitate the connection of the new production, injection risers and umbilicals. This will allow the introduction of new production.
This project is very important to ABJV as it brings some field-life longevity to the project, which we are very enthusiastic about.
What is your approach to operating the Armada Olombendo FPSO?
Our present approach to operating and maintaining FPSO Armada Olombendo is in line with local and international standards. Like most FPSO operators we are exploring the use of new technologies that are available in the market, with some fast becoming the norm in the industry. There are significant benefits in terms of efficiency, increased reliability and commercial savings, but more importantly reducing health, safety and environmental risks.
With the present challenges the pandemic poses in maintaining operations and maintenance activities, the use of these technologies will reduce the need for specialists having to travel to our facilities. Instead, the specialists will be able to support remotely, giving a significant improvement in both costs and speed of assistance.
Currently, we are placing focus on getting in place strategic support contracts with local and international service providers that embrace local content participation, Angolanisation and the use of new technologies – these are key fundamentals in the discussions.
How is ABJV/BAB enhancing its presence in the country’s upstream sector?
We are focusing on ensuring that we deliver a high-level performance to our client. We are doing this by ensuring that we have the needed infrastructure in place to support our present operational needs with an ability to increase if required. This also allows us to be well positioned to build upon this base capability should there be new opportunities. People, technology, supply chain and logistics are fundamental areas we are focused upon with Angolanisation at the centre.
How are you approaching partnerships in light of the local content drive?
As you can see from my previous answers, ABJV/BAB are focused on Angola as key to our business success. This success can only be achieved with the participation of Angolan companies and the communities.
We are dedicated to giving opportunities to Angolans and international companies that support and demonstrate the same level of Angolan participation. I am sure that in the coming year you will see more from ABJV/BAB in this area.
What are the trends shaping FPSO contracting dynamics in Angola?
We, as a company, typically focus on lease operate contracts comprising a bare boat charter for the asset and an operations and maintenance contract for the same asset. Typical charter periods are for 15-20 years depending on the field productivity. The company is always open to new opportunities such as providing operations and maintenance management services to operators’ assets.
Depending on the operator, the development and contracting strategy will ultimately determine whether the subsurface assets are owned and operated or put out to a contractor under a lease operate contract. This is still mixed here in Angola and I feel this will not change in the immediate future.
How optimistic are you about Angola’s Hydrocarbon Exploration Strategy 2020-2025?
We are very optimistic and hopeful that this strategy brings with it the development of existing discoveries and the further development of already operating fields. This can only bring ABJV/BAB opportunity to grow its existing operations in Angola.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect operations onboard the FPSO?
The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for the entire industry, not only ABJV/BAB. The importance of oil and gas in Angola makes it especially important that we can safely operate the facility. I must compliment the government and the industry on how well the pandemic has been managed to allow operations to continue. The measures put in place have reduced the impact of the pandemic on production operations.
I can only speak for ABJV/BAB, but the same measures have led to zero Covid cases offshore onboard Armada Olombendo, with all confirmed cases being detected during the quarantine and isolation periods. It is a testament to all our employees that they have followed all the rules and worked longer periods in order to keep our operations running safely through such difficult times.
How valuable is the Angolan market within the company’s regional strategy?
Angola is definitely a country of focus for ABJV and Bumi Armada. We have an existing presence here with a high-performing asset, so it is only natural that we would want to grow our client base here.
Presently our focus remains on maintaining high performance for our present client here in Angola with a view of building on that relationship should opportunities present themselves. We feel if we can deliver on our present client’s expectations that naturally we would be given fresh opportunities here in Angola. Being client focused for always delivering on commitments helps build our reputation as the contractor of choice for other developments, both in Angola and in other parts of Africa.
What are Angoil Bumi’s objectives for the next five years?
Focusing on our present client, delivering on our production operations performance requirements. Working with and building key partnerships with Angolan companies, and the greater community. Pursuing and delivering on our Angolanisation commitments, embracing new technologies such as “green engineering” at the same time seeking new opportunities on a selective basis. We want to ensure we can attract great Angolan talent to join our company and are focused on developing new Angolan talents in order to have a sustainable future workforce.