Angola’s national Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG) has made its position as the national promoter of the Southern African country’s oil and gas sector clear: “A regulator should be a business enabler and an opportunity provider for investors,” Belarmino Chitangueleca, Executive Director at ANPG, said to an audience of experts and industry leaders on Tuesday.
Surrounded by fellow leaders of oil and gas regulators from India, Brazil, the US and other international institutions at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, the Angolan regulator expressed just how fundamental a close cooperation between state entities and the international oil companies that largely compose the landscape of sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest oil producer is, in order to tackle the sector’s many emerging challenges.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) dominate the market in Angola and so they have a lot of leverage on the regulation of the sector. We work closely with the IOCs to drive regulation in an attractive manner,” he clarified.
The ongoing pandemic has made this need for collaboration particularly evident:
“It is fundamental that we look at what happened during the pandemic, where collaboration with the operators and the industry associations was so important to be able to find a common ground for the challenges we were facing. With offices having to shut down and production being disrupted, it was only through collaboration and dialogue that we managed to minimize the impact of the pandemic and share learnings that will inform future decisions,” Chitangueleca shared with the audience.
The Angolan expert was also keen to underline the two separate dimensions that compose the attractiveness of any regulatory structure. “There are two dimensions to regulation in this regard. One is environmental, safety and security issues and the like, and another is taxation, and these two sides of the regulation are many times misaligned, and jeopardize the development of certain projects. Collaboration and information-sharing needs to take place amongst all stakeholders for the regulator to effectively contribute to the benefit of the industry as well as the nation,” he added.
The ANPG representative further underlined the need to involve stakeholders early on in order to avoid unforeseeable issues and blind spots down the road that can prove more costly than if addressed proactively from the start, particularly as Angola enters a new stage in addressing the topic of the energy transition.
“Within the context of the energy transition, we will continue to develop oil and gas assets in Angola and use those resources to fund new developments, but it is still unclear in which direction we are going, and which energy solutions will be the right ones to follow in the future,” he concluded, once again showcasing the challenges and uncertainties that the energy transition presents to African energy regulators and to their counterparts worldwide.
Chitangueleca’s comments at a Houston stage come at a landmark moment for the Angolan agency as it takes to the road to promote its oil and gas assets to investors worldwide. Just this Thursday, Hermenegildo Buila, ANPG’s Negotiations Director, will be talking at the US Africa Energy Forum, in Houston, to present to American Africa-focused investors Angola’s most appealing energy assets at a moment when the African oil powerhouse is pursuing an aggressive exploration expansion strategy.