To maintain its attractiveness as an upstream play, Angola has prioritized an enabling environment, introducing market-driven policies, promoting a six-year licensing round and establishing transparency-oriented strategies to drive international investment and participation.
Angola’s 8.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have made the sector an attractive market. H.E. João Lourenço’s administration policies have targeted structural reforms across the sector, incentivizing investment and international oil company (IOC) participation.
In 2018, the government established the National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG), an independent regulator tasked with overseeing the country’s oil and gas concessions. As the exclusive holder of mineral rights, the ANPG is focused on accelerating E&P activity, enhancing competitiveness while ensuring transparent processes across the sector. With the ANPG’s establishment, Angola has made a strong case for exploration, maintaining its attractiveness for upstream investment by prioritizing productivity, transparency and the separation between the state operator and regulator.
In pursuit of increased transparency, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) approved Angola’s application to become a member in June 2022, demonstrating the southern African country’s commitment to accountability and openness. By joining the EITI, Angola will be required to submit its first disclosures in line with the EITI standard within 18 months, making public critical information including industry beneficiaries, contract details and the management of sector revenues and state-owned enterprises. As such, Angola has made clear its commitment towards transparency, making the sector increasingly attractive for upstream players.
Incentivizing Foreign Investment
Meanwhile, in order to reform the business and investment environment, the government of Angola implemented the Private Investment Law (PIL) in 2018, amended in April 2021, which establishes the general principles and basis of private investment in Angola. The law determines the benefits and concessions that the government grants private investors, as well as the criteria for accessing them, outlining the rights, duties and guarantees of investors. The PIL offers general protection on investments made in Angola, granting the foreign investor a general right to repatriate dividends once the project is fully implemented, and with the 2021 amendments – which are yet to be published – further incentives are expected that will attract even more investment into the sector.
In order to build investor confidence in the upstream sector, in September 2019 and at the government’s request, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development completed the more recent Investment Policy Review (IPR), representing part of a broader technical assistance project aimed at assisting Angola in attracting and benefiting from foreign direct investment (FDI). While the IPR was centered around economic diversification, the review identified policy gaps and bottlenecks restricting FDI, enabling the government to address the complex system for FDI entry and establishment as well as burdensome regulations. With the country prioritizing exploration in 2022 in an effort to mitigate production declines witnessed following the COVID-19 pandemic, the IPR will be key for directly addressing FDI barriers, enhancing upstream investment in 2022 and beyond.
With significant progress having been made towards the establishment of an enabling environment, the government of Angola has made a strong play for exploration through the introduction of a six-year licensing round, thereby maintaining the country’s attractiveness as an upstream investment destination. Organized and overseen by the ANPG, the licensing round program – running from 2019 through to 2025 – enables the country to map its oil and gas reserves, incentivize investment and IOC participation in key basins, while monetizing resources. Covering ten blocks including Block 11, 12, 13, 27, 28, 29, 41, 42 and 43 in the Namibe Basin and Block 10 in the Benguela Basin, the round has been instrumental in attracting upstream players, driving exploration and production across the southern African country.
All this and more will be further unpacked at the 2022 edition of Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2022 – the country’s premier energy event where investment opportunities across the entire energy sector and value chain will be showcased to regional and global financiers. At a time when Angola’s upstream market has been made more attractive than ever, AOG 2022 – taking place in Luanda from November 29 and 30 to December 1 – serves to drive new investment across the country, ensuring resource development translates into long-term and sustainable socioeconomic growth.