Angola: Open for Investment

Angola, as the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, holds approximately 8.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Contributing to 50% of gross domestic product and nearly 90% of national exports, oil represents an invaluable resource to the domestic economy. The country also holds the fourth-largest proven natural gas reserves in Africa – approximately 343 billion cubic meters – along with significant renewable potential in solar and wind. In a bid to offset declining hydrocarbon production, the Angolan Government has implemented several key initiatives focused on spurring new exploration activities, increasing foreign direct investment and incentivizing local participation within the industry. Accordingly, Angola is set to become a prime investment destination in 2021, as it seeks a year of revival for its prolific oil and gas industry.

Angolan President João Lourenҫo has remained at the forefront of reform since his election in 2017, revitalizing the sector with a revised 2020-2025 Energy Roadmap, a restructured state oil company, more flexible regulation and increasingly attractive exploration policies. The Energy Roadmap prioritizes exploration activities and foresees oil discoveries of up to 57 billion barrels of crude oil and 27 trillion cubic feet of gas. The plan requires significant amounts of foreign investment – approximately $679 million – as well as $188 million by the Angolan State, presenting an ideal investment opportunity for international financiers. Additionally, the National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has announced its second oil and gas licensing round, set to officially open this month, in which the Government aims to further incentivize investment into frontier exploration.

The 2019 oil and gas bidding round yielded results last January, with the award of frontier Blocks 29 and 28 to French major Total and Italy’s Eni, respectively. The ANPG also issued several block extensions to Blocks 14, 17 and 15 in the first quarter of last year, alleviating time and financial pressure on the completion of drilling programs ahead of the spread of COVID-19. By extending and renegotiating existing blocks, as well as negotiating risk service contacts, the Angolan Government has sought to provide companies with enhanced regulatory flexibility and operating conditions.  

“Angola occupies one of the top spots on the continent,” said President João Lourenҫo at the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference & Exhibition. “The Angolan Government is aware of this reality and its potential and considers petroleum and gas as catalyzers for a new dynamic, renewable and self-sustainable economy.”

The Government has also prioritized the development of local content regulation that seeks to grow local participation and establish a more inclusive industry for Angolan companies. In October 2020, Presidential Decree 271/20 was adopted to consolidate existing legislation, expand requirements for foreign players operating in-country, incorporate local content clauses in contracts and framework agreements for personnel development and require the submission of annual local content plans, among other key provisions.   

Additionally, the Government aims to increase refining and storage capacity and prioritize the construction of new gas stations by liberalizing regulations in the downstream sector. By restructuring state oil company Sonangol – recognized as one of Lourenҫo’s biggest achievements to date – and selling assets which include equity stakes in various private entities, the Government is redirecting the company to focus on its core activities of exploration and production, as well as establish partnerships with foreign operators. 

“Angola has many natural energy resources, including oil, gas, solar, wind and water,” said João Salvador dos Santos Neto, Angolan Ambassador to China. “However, it still lacks investment for the sustainable exploitation of this potential, taking into account industrialization, digitalization, regional integration and the need to respond to the challenges of globalization.” 

To facilitate investment into Angola’s energy sector, Africa Oil and Power (AOP) will hold the second annual Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2021 Conference & Exhibition in Luanda (June 15-16). AOG 2021 is recognized as the official meeting place and investment platform for the Angolan oil and gas industry. Under the theme, Value-Added Investment to Lead Angola’s Road to Recovery, AOG 2021 will develop and facilitate valuable connections among industry stakeholders, in which personalized networking and deal-making can stimulate the country’s oil and gas revival and move projects forward.  

Organized by AOP and officially endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, AOG 2021 will unite industry leaders and government officials with a key focus on offshore oil and gas exploration and licensing, gas monetization, market-entry, doing business in Angola and digitalization and technology. AOG 2021 will also host the first-ever Digitalization and Technology Forum – a showcase on the exhibition floor of advanced technology being pioneered in Angola. The two-day event will serve as the investment destination for sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest producer, in which AOP’s wide investor network will be leveraged to reaffirm Angola’s position as a leading hydrocarbon producer in the global market.

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