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José Botelho de Vasconcelos


Angola 2015  I  Energy  I  Leader

Interview with Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos Minister of Petroleum Angola

BIOGRAPHY He studied at the Industrial Technology Institute of Luanda and graduated as a Technical Electrical Engineer in 1974. He started his career as an Engineer Maintenance Technician at the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company. He was the Chairman of the Committee of SADC Ministers of Energy from 1999 to 2000, Minister of Petroleum of Angola from 1999 to 2002 and Minister of Energy and Water from 2002 to 2008.


Petroleum exports accounts for 95% of Angola's revenues. Can you tell us more about the current situation of the sector?
Clearly, with its large petroleum resources Angola has an important part to play in the international oil market. We are currently producing 1.8 million bbl/d and we expect to reach a production capacity of 2 million bbl/d in 2014. By 2020, we could be producing 3.5 million bbl/d.


We expect to conduct three onshore auctions in the following years. The blocks in the Kwanza Basin are already identified and Sonangol is working to identify the Onshore Blocks in the Congo Basin and in 2013 we may bid 10-15 Onshore Blocks in these Basins. Our priority is currently onshore as the pre-salt is still under development. We had very little activity on Onshore. Our strategy is to create some conditions for Angolan companies to be able to work with foreign owned companies and operate in our onshore blocks.

Regarding pre-salt, last year it was approved a Presidential Decree that sets the type of participation in public bids for taking in consideration the different type of companies. This will increase the opportunities that may be provided to small and medium enterprises in the oil and gas industry. That is why our attention is turned to the division of the onshore blocks, so that these small businesses may have a chance. It is a demanding business but the strategy is being prepared so that it may represent some opportunity for national companies. In 2011 we have awarded the first 11 pre-salt licenses. Just to get an idea, currently the cost of drilling a well in the pre-salt is around $12 million dollars.


How do you describe de relationship of Angola and OPEC?
In 2011, OPEC has set up a production of 30 million barrels, but this value is the allocation of quotas for various countries and at present, most of them should be producing at full capacity. There has been some increase in production to over 30 million barrels per day. OPEC meets in situations that actually cause some instability in the market and make decisions. We found that the current level of output prices has been rising but whatever is above US$100, is considered a satisfactory level within the organization. The market reaction has been positive.


There is a mixed picture in the market for oil demand. Demand growth in the emerging economies is improving, but the OECD remains in negative territory. The market continues to be well supplied with crude and inventories are at high levels. Prices have moved up to more comfortable levels. This is good news for investment in production capacity and future supply. Some postponed projects have already been started up again in our Member Countries. We will continue our efforts to restore stability and balance to the market, in the interests of producers and consumers alike.

Angola has invested heavily to develop its downstream sector. Can you tell us abour the main projects?
The Luanda refinery produces about 30% of consumption of our market that currently goes from 4 to 4.5 million tonnes. It is expected that the new refineries have, each one, a production capacity of about 200,000 barrels. The project of Lobito is at a developed stage. The foundation stone was laid in December last year and the intervention in basic infrastructure is currently being done. We are, at this point, mobilizing the necessary resources so that we can start in 2017.


With our accelerated economic development in the last five years, our fuel consumption grew, on average, between 20% to 25% annually. The total number of vehicles in the country has increased, which has demanded further fuel consumption. Both the agricultural and the industry sectors have been showing good growth prospects as well.

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