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With Angola’s oil and gas industry witnessing unprecedented growth owing to implemented regulatory reforms, increasing demand across the regional and global landscape and new discoveries and projects being launched, new opportunities have emerged for service companies in the country. 

As such, Angola’s premier energy event and the biggest to take place in Africa post-COP27 – Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2022 – held a dedicated Spotlight on Services panel discussion, uniting service, engineers and technology firms to discuss mature production challenges, offer smart solutions and new exploration techniques while shedding light on opportunities arising within Angola’s emerging energy transition that require the application of specialized technologies and that enable service providers to diversify their activities.

The session began with a keynote presentation by Miguel Baptista, Managing Director for Central, East, and Southern Africa at Schlumberger – now SLB – who discussed the company’s strategies towards decarbonizing the oil and gas industry in Africa and bringing innovative and cost-effect solutions to energizing the continent.

“The oil and gas industry has been, it is, and will be, the engine of growth for the Angolan economy. For the past few decades, Angola has evolved from a low-income country to a medium-income country and this evolution has been driven primarily by its oil and gas industry,” Baptista stated, adding, “While the importance of the oil and gas industry cannot be question in Angola, we are living in an exciting and unique time in our country and a pivotal time for our planet as we work on the world’s greatest balancing act.”

Moderated by Gonçalo Falcão, Partner at Meyer Brown, speakers included Ian Cloke, COO, Afentra; Ezinne Nnebocha, Marketing and Sale Manager, SLB Angola; Matt Tyrell, Chief Geologist, DDMS Ida & Trois Geoconsulting, Xcalibur Multiphysics; Matthieu Wallach, Sales Director and General Manager, Southern Africa, Welltec; Frederic Jacquemin, Director for Contracts and Marketing, Noble Drilling and David Tony Nwakaji, Sales & Commercial Manager – Sub Saharan Africa, Tenaris.

The conversation kicked off with insight provided into the opportunities created for service companies in Angola.

“The marketplace has changed quite a lot now and as we look forward; we can start going towards the mature phases of exploration prospects,” stated Ian Cloke, COO of Afentra, adding, “As I look at it, I think the demand for the service industry has to change to mimic what other well-established exploration and production countries have been doing.”

Meanwhile, speaking on the prospects of taking advantage of mature fields in Angola, Matt Tyrell, Chief Geologist for DDMS Ida & Trois Geoconsulting and Xcalibur Multiphysics, stated, “There’s always been great optimism about new exploration here in Angola, but if you look at where the best success has been, that has consistently been in established areas. We need to not only think about new frontier bases, but exploration in established basins as well.”

“As a provider of technologies, we have the solutions,” added Mathieu Wallach, Sales Director and General Manager for Southern Africa at Welltec, stating that, “We need to work with the oil companies to find the right solutions that will effectively minimize the effect of cost and carbon emissions. It can be by combining technologies and these questions need to notify and discover where to find real value.”

Thereafter, the discussion shifted to the role service companies play in driving sustainable oil and gas operations in Angola, with emphasis placed on the need to deploy specialized technologies that enable the market to grow in a climate-friendly manner.

“We have to set goals and consider how they concretely work in practice. we are looking into renewable fuels, but towards the long-term, we need to also consider the logistics aspects,” stated Frederic Jacquemin, Director for Contracts and Marketing at Noble Drilling.

Additionally, speaking about Angola’s position as Africa’s largest oil producer, David Tony Nwakaji, Sales & Commercial Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Tenaris, stated, “There are lots of opportunities here. It’s no secret that Angola seems to be the jewel of Africa in terms of oil and gas investment. This is a partnership- and collaboration-driven industry. As the opportunities are bound for the oil and gas industry, it also has bounds for the service providers.”

Finally, raising points on the opportunities for Angola to leverage modern technology to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector, it was noted during the panel discussion that oil and gas is a requisite for Angola – and the rest of Africa – to empower itself and participate, practically, in the energy transition.

“Over the course of these past few days, its apparent that the oil and gas industry is an engine for growth in Angola and several African countries,” stated Ezinne Nnebocha, Marketing and Sale Manager at SLB Angola, concluding, “We know the harsh reality of energy access in Africa. As an operator, and even as a service company, we need to be clear about what we’re doing. We will continue to operate, but how can we leverage practices, processes, and technology in a way that reduces emissions and promotes development?”