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Angola oil company exchanges black for green in restructuring

Angolas National Oil Company Sonangol has announced it is going public, restructuring as a comprehensive National Energy Company rather than strictly oil-focused.

Sebastião Gaspar Martins, Sonangol CEO, announced on Thursday 9 September the company has already seen positive outcomes in terms of cost savings from its restructuring programme, which involves the sale of non-core assets. The remaining entity will focus on the production of oil and gas as an operator, as well as engage in the production of energy through gas and renewable projects including solar, biogas and hydrogen.

The government of Angola plans to list Sonangol once the restructuring programme is completed by the end of 2022.

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Gaspar Martins also announced Sonangol would expand its position as an oil and gas operator in Angola. The company is currently responsible for 2% of nationally operated production. He believes the National Energy Company could take responsibility for up to 10% of national production over the next ten years.

Angola currently produces close to 1.2million barrels of oil a day, which makes Angola’s National Oil Company an attractive investment consideration when the company comes up for public listing. Increasing the company’s energy generation portfolio with green and new technologies might make Sonangol more attractive for investors as countries and companies announce net zero goals and seek out green investments.

A recently released Global Wind Energy Council report into the global offshore wind market noted they have seen a growing interest from oil and gas players in the potential of new technologies such as hydrogen and Power-to-X.

International oil companies being forced to explore green alternatives

Also speaking at the Angola Oil & Gas conference, Paul McCafferty, Equinor Senior Vice President: Exploration & Production International – Africa, said the need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures has led to International Oil Companies re-examining their future energy strategies.

Thus many have committed to transition to cleaner fuel sources and decarbonise their hydrocarbon projects in an effort to mitigate climate change.

While Angola is aggressively pursuing oil and gas industry expansion to boost associated socio-economic growth in the country, International Oil Companies are introducing new technologies they believe could mitigate climate change.

“Our carbon intensity is significantly lower and we are committed to lowering it even further. Our Angola production is about the industry average, 17kg per barrel produced, and it is likely to increase as production begins to diminish from some of our assets.

“The challenges are within our mature assets. There is an increase in carbon intensity regarding production and it is extremely important of us to address this.

“We are hoping to offset this with new exploration. We believe this is a challenge, but it can be an opportunity. It requires innovation, learning from experiences and being prepared to having the courage to try to implement them going further,” said McCafferty.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a conference producer for Clarion Events Africa.