Since 2009, Monjasa has been supporting West Africa’s maritime trade and oil and gas sectors, as one of the leading providers of bunkering services. Energy Capital & Power spoke to Monjasa Angola Country Director, Eduardo Costa about the company’s activity in the region.
What factors have enabled Monjasa to become one of the leading companies in oil trading, the supply of marine fuels, oil terminal operations and shipping?
Monjasa was established in Denmark in 2002 with the aim of becoming a close partner to the oil and shipping industries. Twenty years later, we have developed into a global logistics company providing bunkering and cargo trading services for the maritime industry. From the beginning, Monjasa has emphasized strong personal relations and engagement with the local shipping communities where we are present. Today, our 12 offices are servicing shipowners, charterers and operators in more than 700 ports worldwide. Our fleet counts some 25 tankers and barges and has helped us reach leading market positions in hard-to-reach markets in Latin America, West Africa and the Middle East.
What does West Africa and the sub-region represent for Monjasa, and how is your experience in countries like Angola contributing towards the group’s profitability and ongoing expansion?
We have always been attracted to doing business in West Africa. Not because it is easy, but because it often gets very tough. We have always loved a challenge and sought the opportunity to make a difference for our customers. It is in the Monjasa DNA. Therefore, West Africa holds a special place in our hearts. It was one of the first regions where we set out to prove our philosophy of delivering bunkers in tough regions rather than just seeking out the mainstream ports. Our African experience and extensive know-how of operating in challenging waters laid the foundation for our global expansion.
Where do operations in Angola fit into Monjasa’s larger global portfolio?
We obviously have a lot of corporate synergies coming from our global organization and maritime operations, but I would emphasize the quality of our operations. Working under one brand with one global set of quality standards has played a significant role in developing our maritime services. Since 2014, and as the first company within our industry, Monjasa has certifications from four global ISO-standards for QHSE and Energy Management in place throughout our global operations. Coming to West Africa with a smooth operating model has boosted the demand for our services in Angola. The country holds many opportunities as Africa’s second-largest oil-producing nation, and recent developments are pushing for further progress. One of the priorities in advancing Angola’s potential to become a regional bunkering hub is supply availability. The current local production levels and import restrictions on oil products are not favorable for the overall development of the bunkering sector in Angola.
Monjasa is actively involved in supporting the IMO 2020 transition by making available low-sulfur marine compliant fuel throughout the Gulf of Guinea. To what extent can Angola compete with other well-established bunkering and oil services destinations?
From a marine fuels point of view, Angola, together with nations like Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast, entered a new era as oil-producing countries in January 2020. As such, the new IMO 2020 low sulfur fuel requirements favor straight run fuel oil for it to be widely available in the West African region. We believe that 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 is something that fits well with our preference of sourcing locally refined oil products no matter where in the world we service our customers. It is our strong belief that the local oil and energy sector will benefit largely from this fuel transition and that it will lead to overall improvements for the population of Angola.
High Sulfur Fuel Oil (HSFO) represented about 74% of Monjasa´s supplied products in 2019, but dropped to 19% in 2020, while volumes of Very Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) have risen to 59% in the same year. What trends in fuel grade demand has Monjasa been seeing?
The overall marine fuels landscape continues to reflect VLSFO as the preferred oil product across all markets, and currently makes up some 65% of total volumes. At the same time, we are recording an increasing demand for MGO representing around 20% of all product sales. High-sulfur products today represent less than 15% of Monjasa´s total volume.
What are the latest developments for Monjasa in Angola in terms of trading, bunkering, and shipping, and what is the company’s key competitive advantage compared to other regional players?
Our 5,812-DWT tanker, Monjasa Chaser, is assigned to service Angola´s waters only. By bringing this dedicated vessel to Angola, we hold the quality tonnage to service our customers and complement Sonangol´s bunkering service. Our ambitions are to keep personalizing our business 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.
What steps is Monjasa taking to advance its sustainability agenda in line with the global energy transition and efforts to reach net-zero emissions?
The oil and shipping industry are changing faster than ever. In particular, new opportunities and expectations arise within the wider sustainability agenda. Down the road, the market for conventional bunkers will be largely impacted. Alternative fuels are currently a small percentage of the overall demand for energy or fuel. Monjasa will support the transition to alternative fuels, but that continues to be an upstream task in developing fuels to be readier for mass consumption and distribution. At a group level, we are currently looking at how to support this transition by finding companies that are investigating and developing in the sphere of alternative fuels to see how we can advise on the logistical side of these opportunities to make it more readily available for the shipping industry.
What is your vision for the evolution of Monjasa in Angola in five to ten years’ time?
There is little doubt that navigating the increasingly complex business environment surrounding the bunkering industry is the key to future development. Right now, we are experiencing shifts in fuel grades and the overall product landscape, ever-changing compliance with QHSE frameworks, and increasing financing requirements-all indispensable parts of the daily business that require a strong corporate backbone. At Monjasa, we are confident that we are well positioned to face this increasing complexity. We are benefiting from our skilled global organization, our size of operations and our 20 years of experience working across challenging markets. West Africa is a good example of a region that is evolving positively, and at the same time, adding a lot of new regulations.
Angola Oil & Gas 2022
Representing the country’s official energy event, AOG 2022, in partnership with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Angola, will take place in Luanda on 29-30 of November and December 1st, 2022.