Sonangol says Angola crude output to hit 1 million b/d next year

Angola's oil production could climb to 1 million b/d this year as a number of the West African state's deepwater offshore development projects come on stream, José Paiva, London-based managing director at Sonangol Ltd., said Monday. He said Angola's output was expected to rise to 1.3 million b/d by 2005 and continue increasing by 25%/year for the rest of the decade.

May 21st, 2001


Darius V. Snieckus
OGJ Online

LONDON, May 21 -- Angola's oil production could climb to 1 million b/d this year or next as a number of the West African state's headline deepwater offshore development projects come on stream, a senior official with state-owned oil and gas company Sonangol said Monday.

José Paiva, London-based managing director of Sonangol Ltd., said Angola's crude output was expected to rise to 1.3 million b/d by 2005 and continue increasing by 25%/year for the remainder of the decade.

"This (25%/year) production increase will be maintained over the next 10 years as no less than 19 commercial discoveries containing large reserves are currently in line for development," said Paiva, speaking at the Angolan Oil & Gas Summit. "With the gradual implementation of these projects daily production of 1 million b/d in 2001, or maybe next year, should be attained."

He added that with the development of projects rising out of upcoming ultradeepwater acreage awards on Blocks 14, 15, 17, and 18, production from 2005 should scale up "at a higher rate" than at present.

Giant Girassol field on Block 17, operated by France's TotalFinaElf SA, will contribute 200,000 b/d when it comes on stream this year.

Paiva noted that some 60% of Angola's crude production, around 780,000 b/d, is earmarked for export to the US market.

He also stated that the Angolan government aimed to "simplify" the state's production sharing agreement model to encourage foreign investment in the oil and gas industry to reach $6.5-$10 billion by 2005.

"We are planning to have a simpler production sharing agreement in the future," he said. "This will allow the negotiation process (between international oil companies and the Angolan authorities) to be more efficacious. We have endeavored to gain the confidence of the petroleum companies by making the work easier, and encouraging them to cooperate with us in finding the best solutions."

Sonangol was said to be involved in negotiations to reform "some aspects" of Angola's PSA model to be built in to the state petroleum law, though the company was not able to disclose a time frame for finalizing proposed changes.

With the West African state's recoverable reserves levels forecast to grow 4 billion bbl/year through to 2005, José Caposso, head of the Department of Development and Production at Angola's Ministry of Petroleum, stressed the state would be pursuing a "reserves preservation policy" to prevent peak and trough output levels from its fields.

Caposso stated the government's "intention is to keep a (high) plateau over a maximum number of years," but denied suggestions that restrictions would be put in place by the Angola authorities to stagger first oil from its largest soon-to-be producing offshore fields.

He said there was "no queuing arrangement" being considered for fields under development off Angola, though he acknowledged that the government wanted to consider the sustention of output levels "over the next 10 or 15 years," rather than focusing on the gains to be made from production in the short-term.

Contact Darius V. Snieckus at dsnieckus@ogjonline.com

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