Angola takes step towards onshore round

04 April 2013, News Wires – Angola’s government on Wednesday approved the guidelines of a plan to hold bidding for licences to explore for oil onshore in the Kwanza and Lower Congo basins, according to a report.

The government said in a statement seen by Reuters that it has asked parliament to approve the plan.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ ruling MPLA party has a large parliamentary majority.

Angola, which is Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, plans to ramp up crude output to 2 million barrels per day in 2015 from around 1.75 million bpd last year.

State oil firm Sonangol, which is the main player in the oil sector in Angola, is also in charge of awarding licences.

Sonangol board member Sebastiao Martins said in February that the company was awaiting government approval for plans to seek bids for 10 onshore oil blocks in the Kwanza basin and five in the Lower Congo basin in northern Angola, according to Reuters.

Angola’s first oil discoveries were made onshore in the 1950s, but most of its crude now comes from offshore fields. Oil revenues represent over 95% of the country’s export income and around 45% of gross domestic product.

Analysts and investors believe drilling thousands of metres under the Kwanza basin seabed through pre-salt blocks could match huge discoveries made off the Brazilian coast in similar rock formations in recent years.

Angola in December 2011 offered offshore exploration rights in the promising pre-salt layer to seven oil majors including France’s Total, Britain’s BP and US firm Cobalt.

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