Angola Unveils New Oil Regulator in Restructuring of Sonangol

(Bloomberg) -- Angola will set up a new regulator for the country’s oil industry as the government restructures state-owned Sonangol and seeks to revive falling oil and gas output.

Sonangol’s role as national concessionaire will be transferred to the National Agency of Petroleum and Gas in the first half of next year in a reorganization scheduled for completion in 2020, Oil Minister Diamantino Azevedo said in a statement handed to reporters Wednesday. Sonangol, which partners with companies including Total SA and BP Plc to pump oil in the southwest African nation, will focus on the exploration, production, refining and distribution of oil and gas.

“The agency will be tasked with conducting bids for new oil concessions, managing production-sharing agreements as well as representing the state in the sharing of profits from oil concessions,” Azevedo said. Sonangol will focus on its “core business, making it more efficient and agile.”

The move is aimed at bolstering Angola’s crude production, which has dropped to about 1.4 million barrels a day from an average 1.9 million barrels in 2008, Azevedo said. The oil minister cited irregularities and excessive bureaucracy at oil-bloc tenders as some of the reasons for the decline.

Sonangol, long the main engine of Angola’s oil-focused economy, is also studying the sale of non-core assets and “optimizing” its stakes in oil blocs to bolster its finances, Azevedo said.

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