Since its foundation, what has been the evolution of the company?
Our mission is to establish sustainable partnerships through the delivery of integrated offshore and onshore support services to oil and gas companies. Angola is eagerly seeking to attract foreign investments and new operators, so we found a business opportunity in protecting the interests of investors seeking to operate in Angola by making their integration into the Angolan market easier through use of AFC MERCY. We provide solid local know-how about doing business in Angola. Some still find it difficult to invest because the regulations are complicated, some claim the routine operations bureaucratic, and there is only a very short timeframe for final investment decisions (FID). We are a one-stop-stop forom which clients can connect with various available services and, after some time, acquire an understanding of the market. At that stage, they can decide if they want to stay and register their companies in the country; however, it is a decision they cannot make unless they have solid information.
Can you give us some examples of successful projects being delivered in Angola with the support of AFC MERCY?
We offer a local content consulting service for offshore projects, delivered through our reliable international network of partners, mainly from South Africa. Services include asset integrity, rig maintenance and inspection services, engineering services, NDT inspections, and more, and this is delivered in Angola in partnership with AXESS GROUP. We also have STCW- and OPITO-approved training from South Africa for Angolan nationals seeking qualifications as ratings and officers forming part of navigation and engineering watches onboard merchant vessels. Angola continues to work on its struggle to pass IMO assessment for proper implementation of STCW requirements under itsadministration. Until Angola becomes IMO whitelisted, Angola seafarers continue to travel abroad to obtain certification of competence. AFC MERCY's partner in South Africa, SEATRAIN, has successfully trained a considerable number of Angolans who currently are sailing as captains, chief officers, and engineers and officers of the watch etc. We also focus on improving the operational experience of existing companies through efficient logistic support to vessels and rigs operating in Angola.
Will the regulations that are being established boost foreign investment in the offshore sector?
Previously, by law, foreign companies seeking to enter Angola had to have a local partner to jointly run the newly registered JV company. The country is now trying to be more flexible and has removed such requirements. This is a great improvement on the legal aspect for investors, which is also added with strong support from National Bank to easily export revenues earned in Angola.
What is your vision on the future of oil and gas in Angola?
We are a fortunate and special people, and we should have solid indicators on how to empower other sectors using the revenues from oil and gas. Oil will not last forever and this is the risk for future generations, also oil is unable to become and major employer at this stage compared to other sectors like manufacturing and agriculture. We need to create infrastructure that promotes nationwide production and start exporting food and reduce imports of basic food. If oil and gas revenues could also be used to empower various segments, Angola could stand tall in Africa by empowering the national production of food to replace the current importation of food with exports, empowering local manpower and solutions to progressively absorb the majority of national oil operating costs, and empowering tourism and attracting foreign expertise to live or work in Angola through easy visas and residence permits. My vision is to see a long-term budget that details how progressively Angola aims to transfer its oil and gas revenues to boost other sectors.