Angola sets sights on training and education to bolster oil and gas sector

In a bid to revive its oil and gas sector, Angola is focusing its attention on education and training to address production decline, lower oil prices and job losses the country has suffered since 2014’s oil crisis, which has had a dire impact on its economy.

Angola plans to incorporate a national skilled workforce into new oil projects between 2019 to 2023 to bolster industry growth, attract investment and save its ailing GDP, which is expected to return to expansion in 2019.

“Being a capital intensive sector and technologically highly developed, the added value for the sustainable and economic development of Angola will be all the more relevant if it is obtained with the growing incorporation of a qualified Angolan workforce,” Angola’s Minister for Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Diamantino Azevedo said.

Large-scale projects such as Total’s ultra-deep offshore Kaombo project, which produced first oil in Late July, has offered huge opportunities for upskilling the existing local workforce.

The upcoming Platina field development, a joint venture between Angola’s national oil company (NOC) Sonangol and BP, is not only expected to generate more investment in the country’s oil industry and increase production but is another example of the need for highly trained Angolan nationals.

Regulatory Reform

Angola has also embarked on regulatory reforms to allow ease of access for foreign investors seeking to enter the country’s oil space.

Aiming to transform the sector and make it more competitive and profitable, Sonangol last year launched its Regeneration Program, which is focused on restructuring the NOC and contributing to the improvement of the performance of Angola’s oil industry.

The Regeneration Program covers the entire Sonangol value chain, including complementary businesses, and will involve the analysis of organizational and strategic aspects, processes and investments.

It also includes the establishment of the National Agency of Petroleum. The role of concessionaire will be taken on by the National Agency for Oil and Gas.

During his first ever visit Angola, Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries H.E Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo lauded the country for its efforts to revitalize its oil and gas industry.

“We congratulate the government’s heroic efforts to reform the industry. These are the right reforms at the right time. We at OPEC applaud these reforms,” he said.

Tax reform

New tax legislation, as part of the Plan for National Development 2018 to 2022, will facilitate public tenders, fiscal and contractual terms and the abandonment of wells and dismantlement of oil installations.

The creation of the Oil Derivates Regulator is another way the country aims to boost confidence in a distribution market that is to be completely liberalized.

Decree 173/13 of October 30, 2018, sets ground rules for the storing, refining and distribution of oil and gas, opening the way for new operators in that market. In late December, the first official Total gas station opened in Luanda, setting the tone for things to come.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Africa Oil & Power will organize the first Angola Oil & Gas conference, which will be held on June 4-6, 2019 in Luanda. Registration is now open.