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forewoman makes waves offshore Angola

1 min read | march 06, 2024

Katila Dompetelo is turning the tide in the oil and gas industry. At 37, she's the first forewoman on the Mafumeira Sul project, which is located on the southwestern coast of Africa.

Dompetelo is responsible for ensuring day-to-day operations run smoothly and making sure her colleagues return home safely.

“I love getting up, putting on my personal protection equipment and working with my team to make things happen,” says Dompetelo, who supervises 154 operators and contractors. “I know my success will open doors for other women.”

making her mark

women make up


of the oil and gas workforce globally

Angola is among the largest oil producers in Africa, where crude oil, natural gas and refined oil make up nearly all of the country’s exports.

That makes Dompetelo’s position a significant milestone for women in the country as well as for the progress being made throughout the industry.

Malfumeira Sul platform

Dompetelo oversees the Mafumeira Sul offshore platform, which stands 15 miles (24 km) from Angola’s Cabinda province in approximately 200 feet (60 m) of water.

challenge accepted

Dompetelo spends 28 days at a time on the rig, which includes:

  • Three wellhead platforms
  • A main production and processing facility
  • A living quarters platform
  • Pipeline totaling approximately 75 miles (121 km)
  • Fifty wells

“When I began this role, I didn’t have a full picture of how challenging the work would be,” said the mother of two. “Being in operations isn’t easy, especially if you’re on the front line. The physical and mental strength I’ve learned from this role will carry through my whole life.”

women in operations

The next hurdle, Dompetelo says, is attracting more women to careers in male-dominated fields and breaking down barriers for future generations.

“We are here, waiting for you,” she says to the female leaders of tomorrow. “Come to operations, and you won’t regret it!”

“Aiming high is what keeps us motivated. Be prepared to work hard. Nothing in life comes easy. There will be times in our career that we just need to stretch.”

katila dompetelo
mafumeira forewoman

Dompetelo’s advice for others hoping to follow in her footsteps: Be ready to give 150% and never let gender stereotypes keep you from pursuing your dreams.

“As women, we are tough by nature,” she said. “There is nothing we can’t do.”

Details of this story have been updated as of March 6, 2024.

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