August 27, 2020
Maersk Voyager drillship -. Credit: Maersk Drilling
Africa’s second-biggest oil exporter, Angola, has unveiled a 2020-2025 energy roadmap which foresees oil discoveries of up to 57 billion barrels of crude oil and 27 trillion cubic feet of gas, state news agency ANGOP reported.
The plans involve $679 million in foreign investment and $188 million by the Angolan state, the agency reported late on Wednesday, part of an effort to reverse years of declining oil output and boost revenue for an economic reform drive.
Angola’s proven oil reserves currently stand at just seven billion barrels, according to the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Strategy cited in the report.
A study published earlier this week by the state hydrocarbon body, the Agencia Nacional de Petroleo, Gas e Biocombustiveis (ANPG), projected a sharp decline in crude production from existing fields beginning in 2008 and set to accelerate to almost nothing by 2040.
Under new leadership since 2017, Angola has sought to root out corruption, streamline laws to ease foreign investment and privatize key arms of its oil-dependent economy.
But cratering oil prices wrought by the coronavirus pandemic saw all oil drilling activity by international majors like Total, Eni and BP grind to a halt this year.
Total announced this month that its exploration activity had resumed with one drillship, and the entrance of Qatar Petroleum into an exploration agreement with Total and the state oil company Sonangol may signal renewed international interest in Angola’s challenging offshore fields.
According to Reuters ship tracking data, the Maersk Voyager ship contracted in January by Total to drill the deepest ever oil well, but idled in April, got underway on Wednesday and is set to resume work.
(Reporting by Noah Browning; editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)