How has COVID-19 impacted Octomar’s operations in Angola and training programs in France, the UK, and South Africa?

The impact of COVID-19 on our operations in Angola and training programs in other countries has been significant. It has posed logistical challenges and increased the cost of mobilizing personnel for offshore operations due to the strict protocols and quarantine requirements imposed by the Angolan government and the oil and gas industry. As a result, one of our key contracts was suspended for four months starting from the end of March. However, despite the challenges, we continued paying salaries, suppliers, and renegotiated contract terms to maintain positive cash flow and sustain our operations. As of July 2020, we have resumed full operation with all contracts back in force.

Fortunately, just before the lockdown started, we were able to send two Angolan candidates to South Africa for further diving training. This enabled us to increase the Angolan content for one of our major contracts. However, due to the practical nature of subsea training, very limited training could be conducted online during the lockdown. We will need to wait for the lifting of travel restrictions between Angola, France, the UK, and South Africa to resume training programs that require candidates to be physically present.

Has the disruption to international logistics created opportunities for Angolan suppliers and highlighted the importance of developing local content?

Absolutely, the disruption to international logistics has created opportunities for Angolan suppliers. We have witnessed foreign companies approaching us to assist them with short-duration projects in Angola because they were unable to mobilize equipment from outside the country. Established companies in Angola have also faced challenges in mobilizing equipment and personnel. This situation highlights the importance of developing local content. It is evident that increasing local content brings several advantages to Angola’s oil and gas industry, not only for service providers but also for operators. Many expatriate workers left Angola during the pandemic, and Angolans have filled their positions, demonstrating that local content can deliver even in challenging times. Companies that have invested in local content are currently performing well.

What kind of support has AECIPA, the Association of Oil and Gas Sector Service Providers in Angola, provided to the industry in 2020?

AECIPA’s support has been essential and timely. They have played a crucial role in facilitating compliance with the COVID-19 protocols and procedures mandated by the Angolan government. This assistance has been instrumental in mobilizing personnel from abroad into Angola. With AECIPA’s support, we have been able to perform crew changes on offshore vessels, as the association facilitated all the necessary authorizations and permits required by the government for special flights and expatriate mobilization.

Can you provide an update on Octomar’s plans to develop business in Mozambique?

We have made progress in our plans to develop business in Mozambique. We have taken an aggressive approach and established a registered company in Mozambique called M-Octo. Furthermore, we have pre-qualified M-Octo with various operating companies in Mozambique, with the aim of participating in upcoming oil and gas tenders in the next three months. To penetrate the market more efficiently, we have formed a partnership with a local Mozambican company. We are currently in the process of shipping assets from Angola to Maputo, and there is potential to relocate them to Pemba.

The oil and gas sector in Mozambique is gaining momentum, and experienced service companies like Octomar can benefit from this growth. We believe that our experience and capacity can contribute to the sector’s development. Additionally, our presence in Mozambique can help create policies that facilitate operations for companies in the country and attract foreign investment. Octomar aims to replicate its success in Angola and sees Mozambique as a key area for our growth.

What are the main priorities for Octomar in the next 12 months, and what can the company offer potential partners in Angola or Mozambique?

Our main priorities for the next 12 months are to maintain our current operations in Angola, secure new contracts, and focus on the development of M-Octo in Mozambique. Although the drilling and exploration activities have slowed down, we anticipate a rebound in 2021. Octomar has a proven track record of overcoming crises, including the financial crisis in 2008 and the oil crash in 2014/15. We have successfully restructured and adapted during each period, ensuring that we meet the needs of our stakeholders.

As a potential partner, Octomar offers extensive experience, expertise, and a demonstrated ability to navigate challenging circumstances. We have the necessary capacity and capabilities to operate in the oil and gas industry, and we are committed to local content development. We believe that by partnering with us, both in Angola and Mozambique, companies can benefit from our proven track record, local knowledge, and commitment to delivering high-quality services.

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