Local content for Angolan offshore projectsNovember 21, 2023
Lamia Ramou, country representative of Red Offshore, talks to The Energy Year about the business rationale behind the creation of Red Offshore, some of the tenders the company is participating in and the attractiveness of the Angolan market for ship owners not currently in-country. Red Offshore is a manager and operator of offshore assets.
What was the business rationale behind the creation of Red Offshore?
Although internationally Red Offshore started operations in Nigeria and Mozambique much earlier, we’ve seen that there is a gap to fill on the ship management side in Angola because the oil and gas sector relies on human resources.
Due to Angolanisation, all projects need local crew and manpower, especially offshore workers. Our focus is in fact local content. This is where we want to focus, and we want to offer international ship owners Angolan-certified ship managers that are reliable partners for their business in Angola. We want to be seen as the number one local content company and ship management service company in Angola.
What are some of the tenders that Red Offshore is participating in?
A typical tender that we are interested in is for providing technical assistance on oil and gas projects. Our focus is mainly on the oil and gas and wider energy industry.
We are also talking to ship owners who are interested in being represented in Angola. We would be their local ship owner representative. We’re not positioning ourselves on the commercial side but rather mainly on the management-administrative side. They are linked. You have to be able to shape teams, provide a crew and manage their training.
Since we are a small company, we are agile. I think we have the highest level of responsiveness. I also think that social responsibility is a very important element in Red Offshore. As humans are at the heart of our strategy, our goal goes beyond business deals and contracts.
How attractive is the Angolan market for ship owners who are not yet in-country?
Especially now, I think it’s more interesting than ever because we can see a marked increase in demand. We see it right now: many tenders are out looking for supply vessels and anchor handlers. If you check the current tenders in the last three months, there has definitely been an increase in demand for vessels. There is always a shortage of vessels here.
Ship owners will always find jobs because there are more drilling projects coming in. New FPSOs are coming in, so operators will need to mobilise supply vessels, anchor handlers and various other vessels.
I think Angola is one of the most attractive markets for ship owners in the West African region, especially with all the upcoming oil and gas projects.
How easy is it for a new company to break into this market?
It’s not easy because you already have some established and respected players in the industry. We are breaking into the market with the established players, but I think we have our cards to play. I think we offer another alternative to the client, which was not the case before.
I hear it a lot from clients: they make a tender for crew, and they don’t receive many responses. The reasons why are that many companies don’t have the required certificates, and some companies don’t really check people’s documentation. There is a certain quality that you can find maybe in 100 players, but only three or four are really compliant with international standards and can meet operators’ requirements.
What are the key priorities for Red Offshore in terms of offering trainings?
I think the most important segment – where Angola has a lot to do – is marine certification. Here, we need to contribute as well, and we’re exploring ways to see how we can participate. Angola is not yet on the IMO [International Maritime Organization] whitelist.
You do have some training centres that are doing a great job. However, I think it’s not enough. This is going to be something really challenging because when you start having more projects and local content is required, you will find that many people don’t have valid certificates or the certificates obtained in Angola are not recognised by the flag of the vessel. Something has to be done because marine crews represent our core business.
What impact can Red Offshore have in the Angolanisation process and the empowerment of women in the labour market?
Local content is part of our DNA. We want to help our clients put more Angolans to work. Our vision and objective for the next years is to be the leading crew manpower agency, with a focus on Angolanisation.
Right now we have no focus on bringing expats in. Angola needs local content, and our clients need it, so I don’t see any need for focusing on other markets.
In terms of giving more opportunities to women, we have decided to create a special database and to provide tailormade coaching sessions. Many female professionals in Angola have great capacities and sound CVs but lack the confidence to enter the oil and gas market. We are looking to help the female CEOs of the future of Angola.