"In 2023, we executed our first international project, which involved providing 24-hour diving services to support the installation of the first FPSO in Côte d'Ivoire."

Ricardo do Amaral

GENERAL MANAGER, OCTOMAR

May 17, 2024

Can you share some recent developments at Octomar?

Our first fast crew vessel was acquired in 2018 from the Netherlands to support diving operations on one of our long-term contracts. It has since then been placed on spot contracts for other clients in Angola, supporting diving operations and offshore intra-field transfer of personnel. We are committed to expanding our fast crew vessel fleet, provided we have the long-term contracts in place to justify the investment. 

The oil and gas industry in Angola is trending towards a boom in the next 3-5 years, in line with the government’s strategy to increase production. This has resulted in an increase in exploration activity. Octomar continues to work for IOCs like TotalEnergies as well as Angolan independent oil producing companies like Etu Energias. 

In 2023, we executed our first international project, which involved providing 24-hour diving services to support the installation of the first FPSO in Côte d'Ivoire. Working in a new country poses challenges, but our thorough planning resulted in a smooth and successful operation. We want to build on this success and consolidate our position in Côte d'Ivoire. We will use this experience to internationalize the company and hopefully expand our operations in places like Namibia.

What challenges have you faced recently?

The Covid pandemic affected logistics for many service providers in the oil and gas sector. As a result, the lead times for manufacturing and importation of equipment and spare parts have increased. To overcome this, we made improvements to our maintenance and operation methods to reduce the risk of downtime because of waiting on equipment or spare parts. 

Furthermore, it has been increasingly difficult to recruit experienced professionals, as many have left the industry and our market to work in other industries and regions like the Middle East. This is a problem being felt across the entire industry.  

What opportunities do you see in Namibia?

Namibia is a smaller, organized country with relatively good infrastructure. The latest oil discoveries are promising. Although it is still a young sector, we believe now is the time to enter as competition is rife. Due to Namibia’s past relationship with South Africa, there will be significant competition from South African companies that will be able to easily set up in the country. We want to be at the forefront by setting up an operation in Namibia to support its growing oil and gas industry. We have existing clients in Namibia who also operate in Angola and would like to see us succeed there as well.  

Do Angolan companies like Octomar get enough government support and how is local content promoted?

Unfortunately, being a 100% Angolan company has not resulted in much support or benefits. We often find that foreign companies are easily able to enter the Angolan oil and gas sector without much investment in the country. Many Angolan companies like Octomar, which have been around for over 25 years and have invested significantly in infrastructure within the country and in the recruitment, training and development of Angolan nationals, have still not received any significant support. This is one reason behind our decision to internationalize the company.  

What opportunities do you see in Angola’s gas sector?

In 2023, we were involved in Angola’s largest gas project which involves installing new sea lines to block 15 and exporting gas through the Angola LNG plant. We were involved in the shallow water geotechnical studies for this project. This project is still ongoing and we are participating in tenders for additional work to support its development. The Angolan gas industry has a lot of potential for growth. 

What are your priorities for the coming years?

Despite branching off into new business lines, diving and subsea services remain a key part of our business. The majority of Angola’s oil and gas activity takes place in deep water. Thus, we want to grow our subsea maintenance, inspection and repair services business using new technologies like remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). We are already investing and partnering with international players who have the assets and expertise to facilitate this. In five years, we would like to be structured and equipped with ROVs in Angola to carry out subsea deepwater inspections and repairs. 

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