Equipped to Operate

Certex Angola is the exclusive supplier of rigging lifts to the country’s major operators and service providers. General Manager of Certex Angola, Alfredo Fortunato, spoke to Africa Energy Series – Angola about what Certex has to offer the Angolan oil and gas sector.

Please provide an overview of Certex’s services and core offering for the oil and gas sector in Angola. What are the key projects in which Certex is currently involved?

Our core business is the supply of lifting equipment and related services such as inspection, certification and specialized manpower directly to major oil companies and service companies on a permanent in-house or ad-hoc basis. We are the only supplier of rigging lifts in the country. Essentially, we provide certainty that lifting operations are carried out safely at all times and that the equipment is safe to operate, certified and suitable for its intended purposes. All of our services are offered from Sonils Base in Luanda and Kwanda Base in Soyo.

We are currently working in support of operations on ExxonMobil’s Block 15, which is seeing an increase in investment and development to increase its production through a multi-year drilling program. As a service company, we rely on project decisions made by the client. As a result, the economic crisis has slowed down the pace of active and future projects within the industry. Our main focus for the next 12 months is to keep improving our facilities in-country to be able to diversify our portfolio offerings. While we are currently focused on support activities in up- and midstream operations, the company sees downstream diversification in Angola as a huge opportunity to expand its business portfolio because of the inherent competitiveness of the market.

How has Certex been able to develop and invest in the Angolan workforce through its training and development programs?

One of Certex’s main strategies has always been to establish partnerships with specialized and renowned international companies. In cooperation with these companies, Certex has been able to not only train its workforce but also to use these companies as the main source of recruitment of qualified personnel to support and manage our operations. Local and international companies can work together by establishing partnerships and specific knowledge transfer programs. That has been lacking in the past and is the key to real knowledge transfer in many areas of the industry in developing countries. Certex has been able to operate in a range of often challenging and diverse environments due to the continuous training of our personnel and the creation of a culture of non-complacency among our workforce.

That said, it has become easier to do business in Angola in recent years due to the openness of the market to new investors. The new and improved anti-corruption and investment laws have been well-received by both local and international players, and we believe that it is going to become even easier and more transparent to do business here. Angola is truly open for business. There is enormous potential throughout the country and it is a changing economy, for the better. Investors should create partnerships and obtain local knowledge to leverage entry into a market that is still in expansion mode.