Founding Partner & CEO, VIG World
General Manager, Monjasa Angola
As Africa’s second-largest oil producing nation, Angola has the ability to become a regional bunkering hub if it can overcome certain challenges like import restrictions.
What are the company’s main strategies at the moment?
JORGE CALVILLO We have been in Angola for over 13 years, but similar to most of the companies in Angola, we needed to diversify. Our company had a completely different strategy in the beginning, being focused on the public sector, mainly working with the Ministry of Energy. Later, when the oil crisis hit the national economy in 2014, we switched our strategy toward the private sector. We started representing Solar Turbines, a company that manufactures gas turbines, with 100-plus machines just in Angolan off-shore platforms. At some point, we started representing more companies, such as DRIZIT, and environmental clean-up companies for oil products. Opportunities arise randomly in this country, and you need to be flexible to seize them. We also found a partner called Element Alpha, a young trading house from Switzerland. We are still working in the energy sector, but we stopped concentrating fully on that sector because it used to be almost 100% of our business. As for the country, diversification is a must in VIG World.
EDUARDO COSTA Monjasa’s priorities in Angola very much mirrors the ones of the Monjasa Group as a whole. We are focusing on making our business personal and being locally present in our markets. In 2019, we established our Luanda office to offer new opportunities to the local oil and shipping market and we have recorded a steady demand for our services. Monjasa has been a leading supplier of marine fuels across West Africa for almost 15 years. This means that we been taking an active part in the positive regional developments. Taking full ownership of sourcing, shipping and supply is the way we have chosen as a company. We closely monitor customer satisfaction every time a Monjasa tanker completes a ship-to-ship supply. We want to know more about our daily performance and be able to adjust our procedures, fleet logistics or the equipment, should we not meet our customers’ expectations. To be successful, we need to keep leading such quality developments and earn a place in the local market.
How is the IMO 2020 affecting your activities?
JC For the sector, it has been great, because Angola produces complying products with IMO 2020. It was a great moment for the Angolan bunkering sector and for us. In 2019, every company around the world was looking for locations where they could find products that comply with IMO 2020, so we rapidly had huge demand. We passed from being a broker to chartering a bunkering vessel of 6,000 dead weight capacity, and we did pretty well. We have acquired a barge but not for fuel oil, just for fishing, which is a 2,000 deadweight vessel. We still sell bunkers via Sonangol’s structure to players from all around. The market has been fairly competitive lately. It is calculated that around 80% of the refined oil was being exported. Luanda could become a bunkering hub if there were more product allocated. However, it is an opportunity, so it is interesting.
EC From a marine fuels point of view, Angola, together with nations like Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast, entered a new era as oil producing country as of January 1, 2020. As such, the new IMO 2020 low sulfur fuel requirements are favoring straight run fuel oil widely available in the West Africa region. This uptake in demand from oil and shipping companies will contribute to optimize industry production and refineries over time. Already, we can see that the Angolan sourcing opportunities are increasing. For Monjasa, this fits well with our preference of sourcing locally refined oil products no matter where in the world we service our customers. The local oil and energy sector will benefit largely from this fuel transition, and it will lead to overall improvements across the sector and ultimately for the population of Angola.
What are your goals for the coming year?
JC We want to establish ourselves as the first Angolan trading house, marketing local products into the world and exporting not only products from the oil and gas industry, but also other items such as cement. We would like to improve our mining portfolio, and, eventually, we are betting on closing down one energy project. We are looking for different approaches.
EC For the near future, our ambitions are to keep making our business personal and differentiate ourselves in the local industry as well as towards our range of international customers. Thanks to Monjasa’s global presence, we have a unique opportunity to offer our worldwide network of customers the local market insights they need to navigate the West African bunker market.
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