There is a lot of potential to work with the oil and gas industry, as we have a lot of expertise with these technologies, and our engineers are well qualified.

Carla RAMOS FERREIRA President of the Administrative Council RAMOS FERREIRA ENGINEERING

Expertise in engineering

September 27, 2022

Carla Ramos Ferreira, president of the administrative council of Ramos Ferreira Engineering, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s technical expertise and solutions and its operations in Angola and throughout the world. Ramos Ferreira Engineering is an engineering company specialised in design; mechanical, electrical and plumbing [MEP] installations; and facilities management.

What are the fastest-growing technologies for sustainable buildings that could be applied in Angola?
We have a team called Project Earth, which prepares projects and proposes different sustainable technologies, such as putting photovoltaic panels or photovoltaic glass in building façades instead of installing regular glass.
We also work with geothermal energy. A geothermal heat pump is a very efficient renewable energy technology that can be used in residential and commercial buildings. You can climatise the inside of the building without wasting so much energy. There are also new technologies to treat rainwater and use it on gardens and for the plumbing system.

How would you describe the company’s strategy and expertise in developing sustainable buildings in Africa?
How can Ramos Ferreira and our engineering expertise help the future generations? We can be active in the sustainable building designs for every type of building. We have many green buildings in Europe, and we are proposing these designs to many clients in Angola.
The company already has this expertise in Europe, and we can bring it to Angola. Large oil and gas companies are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This can help them.
We also have the Ramos Ferreira ODS (Sustainable Development Goals), a compromise with the future generations that is completely aligned with global goals. This compromise focuses on the three vectors – economy, society and environment, and the purpose is to be “together for a better world” and contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

What are the main challenges for Angola in adopting these kinds of projects?
If you know the problems in each country, you can provide a good solution. The governments and the World Bank need to be convinced if they’re to help with financing. We need to do the consulting part first and then convince the clients.
One of the issues in Angola is that the energy has a very low price because it is financed by the government. But we know that the Angolan government has a commitment with the COP26 and it is necessary to guarantee energy and water to all the people and a reduction of CO2. So this is a concern to all.
First, our engineers must go into the existing buildings and inspect how they are designed and where we could implement these new technologies.

Do you see potential for renewable projects to increase the electrification rate in the country?
In some provinces in Angola, we don’t have energy transmission; there is no grid. The inhabitants of these places are very isolated and poor in many cases. Instead of taking the national transmission grid to these isolated communities, it is easier to install small photovoltaic parks in each village.
Our company can be a part of this, but for the moment, the solar projects under construction are all massive projects with very large contracts. Normally, our company focuses on niche projects where we can work quietly and take care of the entire project design, management and development.


What are the company’s main activities in Angola?
The group was founded in 1981 by Manuel Ramos Ferreira in Portugal. We have been in Angola for 12 years now. In Angola, we mainly do MEP installations for large buildings, hospitals, offices, houses and more. We have mostly worked in hospitals and condominiums.
We also have an industrial unit to manufacture HVAC conducts used in air conditioning. We initially planned this unit when it became difficult to import materials into Angola, so we decided to add more value here and set up our sheet transformation unit for the HVAC industry.
At the group level, we are also present in Algeria, Denmark, France, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands and the UK. We provide electrical installations, telecommunications, building management systems, security, water and sewage, HVAC, fire protection and gas. Ramos Ferreira is also a company specialised in the different phases of the project, design, installations and facilities management, providing an overall and wholly integrated solution.

What is Ramos Ferreira’s relationship with the oil and gas sector?
Our main experience so far has been with TotalEnergies. We did a project that was small but required a lot of expertise for one of their buildings.
There is a lot of potential to work with this industry, as we have a lot of expertise with these technologies, and our engineers are well qualified. The only issue is that the industry has a strong lobby, and we have very strong values as a company, so we don’t get involved in lobbying.

What are the main priorities in the company’s midterm strategy?
We are now preparing our three-year strategy, which will begin in 2023 and go until 2025. The basis of the strategy is to map out what we can do sustainably in each country we are in. We are in countries in Africa and in Europe. In Angola, we have to work to give education, health, water and electricity to the people. In Europe, we need more workers to give green faces to buildings and avoid planting photovoltaic panels in the ground. Then, we can use our experience in Europe to do the same things in Africa. We would like to put some renewable energy in all our projects. We’d also like to help increase the number of women working as engineers and technicians.

How can companies contribute to Angola’s socioeconomic development through training?
Training is the basis of all our operations around the world. We help every Angolan that works for us to become a good technician. There is good potential here because Angolan people like to learn, and they are very committed to their work. For some of them, the training begins here, and then we provide them to have experiences in the other countries where the Group is established. We are doing the same with the technicians and the engineers that we have in Algeria and Mozambique. It doesn’t matter if we are in Angola or Mozambique. We are all one family, so we exchange knowledge between everyone.
We give a lot of importance to social contribution. Since we came to Angola 12 years ago, we have discovered that many Angolan people don’t have a bank account or a national identification document. So, the first thing we do with our employees is open a bank account for them and get them papers. In African countries, companies like ours can do a lot more.

How would you define Angola’s attractiveness as an investment destination?
I would say that opportunities are here. It’s a good place to do business, but it’s important not to give up on the first try because things take time here. The cost of doing business here might be higher, but the returns can also be much higher. With the war between Russia and Ukraine, Angola has a huge opportunity to help Europe. I hope that we can do something about that.

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