Connect with us

Business

Angola: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 in the Oil and Gas Sector

Covid-19 had a significant impact on operational activities, leading to the suspension of drilling activities and substantial limitations on production activity in general

Published

on

Energy Capital & Power (www.EnergyCapitalPower.com) International Conference Director, João Gaspar Marques, spoke to H.E Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas of Angola, about the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s oil and gas sector.

What have been key developments in the Angolan oil and gas sector in the past twelve months, giving particular weight to the state of emergency imposed by COVID-19?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the mineral resources, oil and gas sector has materialized and expanded its reforms with the consolidation of the role of the National Oil and Gas Agency, ANPG, as National Concessionaire and the execution of the Restructuring/Regeneration Program of Sonangol-EP.

H.E. Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas of Angola (Source: Energy Capital & Power |

Within the specific scope of the Petroleum Concession Allocation Strategy for the 2019-2025 period, the implementation of the bidding program continued, with the bid for nine onshore blocks in 2021 for the 2020 bid – six from the Lower Kwanza Basin and three from the Lower Congo Basin. The block bidding strategy for 2021 was also recently approved.

During this period, continuity was given to the project to modernize and expand the Luanda refinery, which aims to increase gasoline production. We launched the construction of the Cabinda Refinery, the public tender for the construction of the Soyo Refinery was launched, and the international public tender for the partnership to execute the construction of the Lobito Refinery was also launched.

The development of marginal fields is beginning, and in this sense, some marginal fields have already been declared and approved, namely the PAJ (Palas Astrea and Juno) of Block 31, N’singa (already in production), Lifua, Kambala and N ‘dola Sul, in Block 0.

We, therefore, consider that the state of emergency imposed by Covid-19 had a significant impact on operational activities, leading to the suspension of drilling activities and substantial limitations on production activity in general.

What initiatives has the Ministry taken to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic within the energy sector, and how does it assess the effectiveness of these initiatives so far?

The various initiatives taken in consultation with the national health authorities, the association of oil-producing companies in Angola and the association of companies providing services to the oil industry to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic include:

» Demobilization of non-essential personnel

» Adoption of remote work mode for some functions

»Establishment of quarantine regimes, social isolation and systematic and mandatory testing of all personnel, that is, before accessing oil facilities either offshore or onshore.

With the continuous advancement of construction projects and renovation of several refineries, how can the development of the downstream sector reduce dependence on volatile fuel imports and offset losses in crude oil exports?

Angola currently imports around 80% of refined products to satisfy its internal needs, therefore, spending vast amounts of foreign exchange.

The refining strategy drawn up by the Angolan Executive includes the improvement of operational processes and the consequent increase in gasoline production at the Luanda refinery (revamping) and the construction of three new refineries in Cabinda (60,000 barrels per day), Soyo (100,000 barrels per day) and Lobito (200,000 barrels per day).

The projects listed above aim to achieve internal self-sufficiency in terms of refined products, export of surplus to neighboring countries, and maintenance and generation of jobs.

Given the current volatility in oil prices, how can COVID-19 facilitate the energy transition to alternative and clean energy sources, including natural gas?

It is important to start by clarifying that the Ministry of Energy and Water oversees issues related to energy transition; however, our Ministerial Department has contributed with essential subsidies related essentially to hydrogen, and some companies in the oil sector are involved in the design of renewable energy projects.

The Angolan State has policies and programs aimed at the energy transition, among which the conversion of thermal power generation plants from diesel to gas is the current priority. For example, we can mention the Soyo Combined Cycle Power Plant and the Malembo Thermal Power Plant in Cabinda. We also launched an initiative to build a photovoltaic power plant (50 MW) in Namibe, a partnership between Sonangol-EP and Eni.

Additionally, we highlight that Angola has an LNG plant in Soyo, which has been in operation since 2012 and originated from the need to monetize natural gas resources, eliminating its flaring in oil operations.

Can COVID-19 serve as an opportunity to expand local content development?

The prospects for the hydrocarbon sector in the post-pandemic period (short and medium-term) are focused on mitigating the decline in oil production, minimizing unexpected losses, optimizing and boosting the production of refined products to ensure the country’s self-sufficiency in these products and increase storage capacity of fuels and lubricants, guaranteeing their distribution coverage throughout the country.

The Legal Regime for the Local Content of the Petroleum Sector was recently approved, which aims to regulate matters relating to the transfer of technology and knowledge, the recruitment and training of Angolan human capital, and the acquisition of goods and services produced locally by companies operating in the oil sector, as tools for fostering Angolan business and promoting economic development.

What is the Ministry’s short, medium, and long-term prospects for the Angolan hydrocarbon sector in the post-pandemic period?

Mitigating the natural decline in production represents one of the biggest challenges for the sector and is therefore a top priority.

Thus, the Angolan Council of Ministers recently approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration Strategy, which is based on four pillars, namely: a) availability and accessibility to the areas that constitute Angola’s sedimentary basins for research and assessment activities; b) expansion of geological knowledge and access to oil and natural gas resources; c) ensuring the successful execution of the General Strategy for the Allocation of Petroleum Concessions in Angola; d) the intensification of research and evaluation in the concessions and Free Areas of Angola’s sedimentary basins.

Business

Please pay your pending bills, KEMSA Board appeals to County Governments

The KEMSA Board also held a roundtable meeting with officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) Kenya Dental Association and the Kenya Health Care Federation (KHF).

Published

on

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board has issued a passionate appeal asking several county governments to prioritise settlement of more than Kshs 3.9 Billion pending bills to the Authority.

Speaking when she addressed stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical sector and Medical Associations, KEMSA Chairperson Mary Mwadime said the settlement of the bills would help accelerate reforms at the Authority.

She said some county governments had extended much-needed support to KEMSA by prioritising the settlement of bills to keep the Authority’s cogwheels running as the organisational reforms to address systemic challenges progress.

She said the Board would undertake the reforms in strict compliance to due process and labour laws as the Board is committed to remedying challenges’ currently bedevilling the Authority.

During the latest round of engagements on Monday, the KEMSA Board and the Authority’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Edward Njoroge updated the Senate Committee on Health members led by Senator Michael Mbito. The KEMSA Board also held a roundtable meeting with officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) Kenya Dental Association and the Kenya Health Care Federation (KHF).

Last week, the KEMSA Board paid courtesy calls to the Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira and Uasin Gishu County Governments. The Board also engaged the National Assembly Committee on Health and the Development Partners for Health in Kenya (DPH-K). The DPH-K comprises stakeholders and representatives from the World Health Organisation, Global Fund, USAID, CDC, UNAIDS, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Bank.

At the meetings, Ms Mwadime reiterated that the Authority was complying with a court order and had not declared any roles redundant nor handed over KEMSA’s leadership to external agencies. She added that operations at the Authority are proceeding under a business-as-usual model with a business continuity plan to avoid any disruptions.

“We have assured our stakeholders that our operations are proceeding on as usual and the Board and Core Management remain firmly in place,” She said, adding that, “A dysfunctional KEMSA slows down healthcare delivery goals and is a liability to the envisaged positive national healthcare outcomes and the Board is committed to facilitating reforms to set the Authority on a recovery path. This will include structured engagements with several county governments to settle their outstanding bills amounting to more than Kshs 6 Billion,” she said.

KMPDU Secretary-General Dr Davji Bhimji speaking after the KEMSA engagement, expressed optimism that the Authority will undertake the envisaged reforms lawfully.

He said the Board had assured stakeholders and KPMDU members that due process would be followed and staff members will not be victimised.

“We have been given detailed information on the reforms and have been assured that the role of professional stakeholders in the healthcare value chain will be mainstreamed in the reform agenda. We are ready to engage with KEMSA to ensure efficient supply of drugs and other items from KEMSA stores to health facilities,” Dr Bhimji said.

Last week, KEMSA Board confirmed that operations had been sustained through the core management and staffing team. If necessary, the core KEMSA Management Team will be assisted by a multi-agency team drawn from public sector experts.

The multi-agency officers will be drawn from the Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Defence, The National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government among others.

The reforms at the Authority are part of the far-reaching recommendations outlined in several KEMSA restructuring reports, including the latest KEMSA Immediate Action Plan and Medium Term Reforms Working Committee (KIAPRWC) report. Commissioned by the Board, the KIAPRWC report revealed challenges in critical functions.

The report confirms that KEMSA is grossly underperforming and largely unable to meet clients’ urgent needs, particularly the delivery of essential Medicines and Products to the Counties, Referral Hospitals and Programs.

The Authority is suffering from below-par productivity, with the order fill rate standing at 18% against a target performance of over 90%. KEMSA’s order turn-around time is an average of 46 days.

KEMSA is also suffering from a developing debtor and creditor crisis and is currently owed Ksh. 6.4 Billion by its clients, who are primarily county governments. The Authority owes its creditors Ksh. 4.5 Billion and is operating at 170% above its approved staff establishment of three hundred and forty-one (341) with an estimated staff complement of 922. Pool

The Board, Ms Mwadime said, is committed to facilitating the necessary reforms to ensure that KEMSA challenges are sufficiently addressed. This commitment includes aligning the organisational structure to industry-accepted standards for a health commodities and technologies procurement organisation. It also calls for the introduction of global best practices, including transparent reporting relationships, an acceptable span of control, and command structures, compounding related functions for strengthened accountability and a re-determination of optimal staffing levels and norms.

Continue Reading

Advertorial feature

Mwananchi Credit Feted as a TopScore brand

The company was voted as the Most Timely Logbook Loan Provider in Kenya as well as recognized as a TopScore Brand in recognition of the financier’s increasing penetration in the country.

Published

on

By

TopScore Brands awards the certificate Mwananchi’s Head of Customer Service , Ruth Moraa and trophy to HR Manager Collins Okello (Photo: Courtesy)

Mwananchi Credit has been recognized as a TopScore brand during the inaugural gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel last Friday.

The company was voted as the Most Timely Logbook Loan Provider in Kenya as well as recognized as a TopScore Brand in recognition of the financier’s increasing penetration in the country.

 

The company has had an impressive winning streak this year, landing the Best Land Title based Financier at the 4th Annual Real Estate Excellence Awards as well as the Best Logbook Loan Financer during the Annual Automotive Industry Awards, both held recently.

Commenting after the win, Mwananchi Credit CEO Dennis Mombo was philosophical about it “It is not until you are on top of your game that you begin being recognized. However, as I remind my team every day, getting to the top is the easy part. It is staying on there, that calls for a big challenge. The biggest show of a winning spirit is to fight complacency so that you keep emerging the best in subsequent years. We are excited about being recognized as a Topscore Brand alongside Kenya’s other leading brands. But we are more excited about giving the best service to our clients, who are the reason we are on top!”

Mwananchi Credit is one of the most innovative lenders in the market. They have ensured that they are able to meet borrowers’ needs at various collateral levels while easing the process of access to credit.

By providing Emergency Loans, the company has put in place aggressive customer-centric processes to ensure that the timelines between application and disbursement are narrowed to an absolute minimum. This has been enabled by embracing technology such that the KYC process starts immediately upon online application and the subsequent steps are also automated whenever possible. Logbook Loans are provided within less than six hours of application with a disbursement within this Turn Around Time clocking over 98% of the instances.

Mwananchi Credit is one of the leading logbook loan providers in the country. Its diversified product portfolio includes title deed loans, civil servant salary check-off loans, import financing, and asset financing among others.

Continue Reading

Advertorial feature

Mwananchi ‘s interest holiday for new applicants to mark Customer Service week

Mwananchi Credit is one of the few Micro Finance companies that has managed to grow tremendously during the last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and this has been strongly linked to improvement of their customer service desk.

Published

on

By

Clients at Mwananchi Credit tent in a past reach out exercise.

Mwananchi Credit will this year mark the Customer Service Week due on Monday 4th till Friday 8th October, in style.

The firm has announced a gracious interest holiday to all lucky clients who make loan applications in specific class categories for the first 3 months of repayment.

This means if you make your loan application during the Customer Service week, and you are among the lucky chosen clients, your interest repayments shall click in January 2022 with only the principal reflecting in the intervening period.

Further, Mwananchi Credit has also announced a penalty waiver for all customers who come to regularize their loan accounts ( that may have fallen behind) during this week.

Announcing the goodies, Mwananchi Credit’s Marketing Manager Boniface Ndonji added,
“ Our growth over the last couple of years has been phenomenal and in big part, this has been simply due to our loyal clients.”

He noted, “As we seek to grow our Mwananchi client family, we also seek to give them have a soft landing, hence our reason to give incentives of our interest holiday.”

Further, Mr Boniface Ndonji said for their current clients who may be facing repayment difficulties, the penalty waivers will hopefully help them to get up to speed.

Mwananchi Credit is one of the few Micro Finance companies that has managed to grow tremendously during the last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and this has been strongly linked to improvement of their customer service desk.

As they mark this year’s occasion, the company shall have a lot of other exciting range of activities to celebrate their growth with their customers.

Continue Reading

Trending