Angola started producing oil from the Benfica oilfield in the Cuanza Basin in 1955.
Nearly 70 years on, the country has risen to become one of the biggest producers and exporters in Africa, with production hitting an all-time high of two million barrels per day (bpd) in 2010.
However, in 2023, production has started to wane as declines in legacy fields continue to reduce national output.
In 2023, production averages just above one million bpd, and with targets of increasing this figure significantly, the government is inviting active E&P companies to expand their footprint and potential investors to get involved in the growing industry.
With underexplored prospects such as the onshore Kwanza basin and offshore deepwater Namibe basin, to name a few, the country remains highly attractive for frontier E&P, and what separates Angola from other oil producing countries in Africa are the benefits associated with investing in an established oil industry.
Infrastructure in Place
Angola has well-established infrastructure in place to support the oil and gas industry, enabling potential investors and project developers to reduce costs as well as time required to develop new projects. Existing infrastructure includes the 60,000 bpd Luanda refinery and the 5.2 million ton per day Angola Liquefied Natural Gas plant as well as domestic pipeline systems connecting oilfields to processing facilities.
Government has prioritized the expansion of the downstream industry to better support E&P activity and grow the entire energy value chain. On the refinery side, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas plans to strengthen refining capacity through the construction of new facilities and the expansion of existing plants. A $237 million project is underway to expand the Luanda refinery to 72,000 bpd while the Ministry is also constructing a $920 million plant in Cabinda; a 100,000-bpd facility in Soyo; and a 200,000-bpd refinery in Lobito province. On the pipeline side, a $5 billion pipeline deal signed with Zambia will enable investors to tap into regional markets while increasing intra-African exports.
History of Participating Majors
A long-history of participating international oil companies (IOC) and service providers in Angola offers newfound opportunities for partnerships and collaboration for potential players. IOCs to the likes of Chevron, TotalEnergies, Eni, ExxonMobil, bp and many others have taken great strides to expand the Angolan oil and gas market through the development and operation of a suite of large-scale projects. On the partnership side, potential investors have the chance to connect with experienced players while on the mergers and acquisitions front, as IOCs divest from oil and gas in pursuit of cleaner energy developments, opportunities have arisen for future players.
A Reliable Partner in the NOC
Having been a major producer for several decades, Angola’s attractiveness as an investment destination is largely based on the national oil company’s (NOC) reliability as a partner. With more than 40 years’ experience in the sector, Sonangol has a deep understanding of the market including reserves, infrastructure and regulations, making it a valuable partner for stakeholders looking to operate in the country. With the support of the government, Sonangol’s strength comes from its commitment to collaborations and its expertise as an upstream player.
Favorable Regulatory Policies Already in Place
With the aim of increasing exploration and production, the government has taken great strides to create an enabling environment for investment, leveraging its long-history as a producer and partnerships with IOCs to introduce favorable terms that incentivize further investment. Through a series of regulatory reforms, including amendments to the Hydrocarbon Law and the establishment of a national regulator, the National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels, Angola has positioned itself as the destination of choice for investors.
Opportunities to Tap into Regional Markets
Angola is strategically located on the west coast of southern Africa, providing easy access to not only global markets but regional energy-hungry markets as well. For financiers, investing in Angola will open new customer bases across the southern African region, increasing revenue generation through intra-African trade, while for project developers, there is the opportunity to expand operations cross-border.