Angola hopes to achieve its long-held crude production target of 2 million b/d by the beginning of 2016, state oil company Sonangol said Friday.
Africa's second biggest oil producer had hoped to achieve the 2 million b/d level -- a target held up but missed over many years -- in 2015 but finance minister Armando Manuel said in October last year that this was unrealistic and pushed it back to 2017.
To achieve 2 million b/d by 2016, Angolan production will have to increase by some 330,000 b/d from the average 1.67 million b/d produced last year, which represents a drop of 50,000 b/d or 2.6% from the 1.72 million b/d of 2013. Sonangol's own share of total output last year was 222,269 b/d, up from 181,746 b/d in 2013.
"There were two periods that proved critical to this performance," Sonangol said. "In the first half of the year we saw a sustained reduction in oil production that reached its lowest daily level of 1,474,066 b/d in March 2014.
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The effects of this production decrease were partially offset by a positive variation in the price of petroleum.
Then, from June onwards, with the entry into production of the Clov and Polo West fields, and maintenance work to fix operational constraints on existing fields, production recovered to about 1,800,000 b/d by December."
However, it added, "over the same period, we observed a sharp decrease in the sale price for oil, from a peak of $110.64/barrel in June to $57.91/b in December."
Recent weeks have seen a host of international oil companies announce steep cuts in capital spending following the oil price rout that has seen North Sea benchmark Brent drop by half since the middle of last year to around $60-$61/b.
Sonangol did not say how much it planned to spend in 2015 or how much it would differ from the 2014 investment level of $5.555 billion, which was down 45% compared with the 2013 level.
It said, however that its balance sheet remained strong, with total assets of $51.498 billion, up 3% year on year.
"This gives us the flexibility we need to continue to invest for the medium and long term," it said.
Sonangol said it now supplied 47% of its crude exports to China, 13% to India and 6% each to Spain, Canada and Taiwan.
"2014 also saw increased sales of products into Asia, particularly China, India and Taiwan, and South America, including Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. In late October, we signed a new deal with Pertamina, Indonesia's state energy firm, to import crude oil from Angola.In August, we signed an agreement with Chile to provide crude oil to local oil company ENAP, making Angola Chile's largest supplier," Sonangol said.
Company president Francisco de Lemos Jose Maria said that while the sharp fall in oil prices had made 2014 a difficult year, Sonangol had taken "firm action to adjust to the changed environment and was implementing a comprehensive strategy focused on cost reduction and capital discipline."
"However, Sonangol is also a long-term business and we will continue to invest through the cycle to maintain our market share and deliver against our operational, commercial and financial objectives," he said.
Sonangol's plans for 2015 include completing auctions for 10 offshore blocks in the onshore basins of Congo and Kuwanza and bidding for 15 new concessions in the ultra-deepwater Congo basin and also the Namibe basin.
--Margaret McQuaile, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Maurice Geller, email@example.com