In Angola’s revived upstream, inspection in demandJune 1, 2022
Amandio Tulumba Nangaiafina, sales and business development manager of Bureau Veritas Angola, talks to The Energy Year about how demand for inspection services is growing in response to Angola’s revamp in upstream activity and the company’s key services and opportunities for growth. Bureau Veritas provides testing, inspections and certification services.
How is the demand for inspection services responding to the revamp in upstream activity?
The most important driver of oil and gas inspection activity is drilling. We do OCTG [oil country tubular goods] inspection, which was on standby somewhat for a few years because drilling activity was very quiet. With the six rigs in-country, drilling activity is ramping up, but until now OCTG has been on a spot basis, not done through long-term contracts. Now, with the market picking up, we expect to enter into long-term contracts.
We are providing OCTG inspection services for drill strings, as well as all the drilling assets and the drillship. And, with some modifications we could inspect any fabrication structures clients might need on their assets. We have investment plans in relation to NDT [non-destructive testing] for drill strings and especially for drill pipes and OCTG, which will help us to enter these sectors.
What are the main variables affecting the competitiveness of inspection and certification services?
Pricing is a key driver, but also the differentiation of local capability. In fact, with different capabilities, we are able to co-operate with them when we do calibration.
The recently introduced rules reinforcing local content also reinforce this differentiation between companies. So now, we have a different type of competitor in each sector. Local content is cost effective and it’s part of our DNA to develop with the local community. But the global reach of Bureau Veritas also means Angola can gain international visibility from our presence. This gives us value compared to a more locally based competitor.
How can a company leverage long-term contracts to increase its competitiveness?
Contracts for asset integrity and NDT awarded directly by operators have a major impact on the overall investments a company is able to carry out in the country. It’s not only about supporting personnel, it’s also about being able to make capital investments in technologies, assets, training and capabilities.
What is your scope for providing remote visual inspection in the Angolan market?
In remote visual inspection, we have invested in smart glasses and drones, along with personnel training. We have a contract for NDT that allows us to undertake investments in NDT and QA/QC activity.
We can do the full scope and provide any type of NDT. Depending on the capability demand, we can also outsource to our worldwide capability, while using our local competency. In this way, we can meet any requirement from the client related to NDT. We aim to fulfil any needs related to industrial inspection from clients.
In terms of asset integrity management, we provide the full chain from inspection management to RBI [risk-based inspection] and an RBI interface with a maintenance module, which covers the period after the inspection is done.
What are Bureau Veritas’ priorities for 2022?
Our core business is lifting inspection. But our strategy and priority is to respond to any need from the oil and gas sector. Our second priority is industrial inspection, which is not only for oil and gas. Then, we have technical assistance for any type of sector. We provide this to follow the diversification of the market.
During 2022, we want to reinforce and secure our industrial inspection capability through new contracts, new investment and more local content. I would say this is our key objective in the coming year. The second one is finding a new way to diversify. This means looking at alternative markets, still using our industrial inspection capability as much as possible, but with a lot more activity in QA/QC and especially in certification. Quality control services is a key focus to be able to staff project teams, which is something we want to carry on with.
Where does Bureau Veritas stand in terms of downstream activity, asset integrity management and ISO certification?
In the downstream sector we focus on fuel quality-quantity surveys for our key client. We do a bit of work for most of the local players in the market, and we aim to work for all of them.
It was quite tough because to be able to start a new process in the so-called “new normal,” we put in place remote audits. These have been some of the complexities we’ve been facing besides the Covid-19 crisis. We expect ISO certification services to increase during 2022.
What is the company’s interest in increasing its services to the power sector?
Any infrastructure project is interesting for us, for either power or utilities. The point for us is to be ready and to be involved in this segment.
In Angola, we are developing this activity using our in-house capability. From here, we also manage regional projects related to hydroelectricity. For example, in Cameroon, we do the technical control on huge dams for the French electricity company EDF. We are presently working on a major project, and we expect to develop this capability and service throughout the region.