Regulatory and Tax Reform to Revive Angola’s Oil and Gas Market

  • President João Lourenço has made it a priority to revive Angola’s oil and gas sector through regulatory reform and changes to the tax framework, which have encouraged international oil companies to take a fresh look at the country.
  • Angola, an Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member, produces approximately 1.37 million barrels of oil per day and an estimated 17,904.5 million cubic feet of natural gas.
  • This places Angola as sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria. Around 95% of export and 70% of tax revenues come from petroleum.
  • The industry is dominated by the upstream sector – exploration and production of offshore crude oil and natural gas.
Unpacking Angola’s oil market
  • 9 billion barrels of proven oil resources
  • 1.37 million bopd oil production

Almost 75% of Angola’s oil production comes from offshore fields. It produces a light sweet crude oil containing low volumes of sulphur, suitable for processing light refined petroleum products.

The oil-rich continental shelf off the Angolan coast is currently divided into 50 blocks. This is expected to more than double with the auctioning of new blocks from 2019 to 2025.

Despite being a leading oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, Angola imports up to 80% of its demand for refined petroleum products from commodity traders such as Vitol and Trafigura. The Government of Angola has plans for the construction of national refineries to increase its refinery capacity.

In 2018, in response to declining investment, the Government introduced legislative reforms, began to restructure the state oil company, Sonangol, and created the National Concessionaire – Angola’s Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG) – to oversee licensing.

The process for approval of contracts with third parties to carry out petroleum operations is now simplified, and taxes reduced.

Unpacking the country’s gas market
  • 11 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves

For the first time, Angola is thinking strategically about how to exploit large reserves of gas considered until now little more than a by-product of lucrative oil production.

2018 saw the first gas legislation to regulate natural gas exploration, production, monetisation and commercialisation. The gas industry requires significant investment to exploit its full economic potential.

Exploration and production market players:
  • Total: 41% market share
  • Chevron: 26% market share
  • ExxonMobil: 19% market share
  • BP: 13% market share
  • ENI
  • Equinor
Upstream market players:
  • Halliburton
  • Baker Hughes
  • FMC Technologies
  • Oceaneering
  • Weatherford
  • Schlumberger
Oil and gas prospects

Untapped oil reserves in the Congo and Kwanza basins, mostly in deep and ultra-deep waters, hold huge potential. However, over the past six years, there has been limited investment in new or existing production fields due to a lower oil price and Angola’s relatively high production costs ($40 per barrel).

Now, following discoveries and investments over the last year, production is expected to increase in 2020 and 2021. ANPG will be auctioning off 55 new blocks over the next seven years, starting with the first round of bids on 10 offshore blocks in October 2019. The auction of nine onshore blocks will follow in 2020.

Source: Africa Oil Week taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 4 to 8 November 2019.

Author: Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.

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