The state oil company of OPEC member Angola, Sonangol, plans to sell off stakes in dozens of joint ventures and cut jobs in order to focus on its core exploration and production business in Africa, Sonangol’s chairman Carlos Saturnino said on Friday.
“Instead of investing in Australia, United States etc, Sonangol wants to become an oil company of reference in the African continent. This is major change for us,” Reuters quoted Saturnino as saying at an oil industry event in Paris today.
The Angolan company has identified as many as 52 joint ventures from which it wants to exit, the chairman added.
The goal of the downsizing is to focus on the core African continent business, make the company more agile, and attract international oil majors back to the Angolan oil industry.
Sonangol has been working with France’s Total and Italy’s Eni on analyzing data for oil blocks in Angola, Saturnino said on Friday. The Angolan state firm has also signed early agreements with U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil and has met with Shell to try to persuade it to return to investing in Angola, Sonangol’s chairman said, as carried by Reuters.
Angola has been struggling in recent years to offset a decline in its oil production as many fields mature.
After the oil price crash of 2014, Angola’s economy suffered from the low oil prices and struggled to attract international investments in its deepwater higher-breakeven oil resources.
Last year, Angola introduced several new measures to try to boost its oil production and its attractiveness for international investment. President Joao Lourenco signed in the summer of 2018 a decree to create an agency that would sell and manage oil blocks instead of Sonangol.
Earlier in 2018, Angola halved the tax rates on the development of oil discoveries with fewer than 300 million barrels of reserves.
According to OPEC’s latest available figures, Angola’s crude oil production in March stood at 1.454 million bpd—up by 7,000 bpd from February but still below its cap under the OPEC+ deal of 1.481 million bpd.