Angola sees oil production rise to 2 million b/d in 2014

Angola’s government forecasts an increase to 2 million b/d from the current 1.6 million b/d due to new fields coming online by 2014, according to a senior official.

“We project output of 1.8 million b/d for 2012. We believe we can reach that average…and we are working so we can reach, possibly in 2014, production of around 2 million b/d,” said Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos. “Some fields will start activity this year and others are being prepared for 2013 and 2014, which will contribute to a rise of our output levels," Vasconselos told the country’s state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola.

Angola’s government is pushing ahead in its efforts to maximize output levels despite already producing well in excess of its 1.57 million b/d production quota as set by its membership in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

In a recent report, BMI said, “Angola has tried repeatedly to have this quota reviewed or even lifted altogether, as it has argued that it needs the revenues provided by higher production to rebuild its war-damaged infrastructure.”

In 2011, Angola’s oil production came in below estimates due to technical problems and field maintenance, according to Vasconselos, who said the country’s production volume for the first 10 months of 2011 was 1.6 million b/d.

The country’s production fell to 1.4 million b/d in June, but recovered to 1.75 b/d in November after the restart of BP PLC’s Plutonio field and by the onset of production from Total SA’s Pazflor field.

According to BMI, Pazflor will be followed in 2012 by two more major project start-ups.

BP’s Pluto, Saturn, Venus, and Mars (PSVM) project is scheduled to reach plateau production of 150,000 b/d in 2012, while ExxonMobil Corp.’s Clochas Mavacola project on Block 15 is set to hit its peak production of 140,000 b/d by 2012.

BMI also noted that Total is set to bring another major project, known as CLOV, on stream on Block 17. This project will produce 160,000 b/d starting in 2014.

Meanwhile, apparently shrugging off concerns about OPEC quotas, Vasconcelos said Angola plans to continue investing in oil exploration, a point underscored last month when state-owned Sonangol signed agreements with seven international oil companies.

The firms plan to drill under the Kwanza basin seabed through a layer of salt that is said to be similar to the presalt layer offshore Brazil where large discoveries already have been made.

In January 2011, Angola awarded exploration rights in 11 blocks to Total, BP, Eni SPA, Statoil, Repsol YPF SA, ConocoPhillips, and lesser-known Cobalt International Energy 11, paving the way for what one analyst called “the first major exploration effort in West Africa's subsalt region.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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