Angola divides oil blocks for future concessions

The Government of Angola has approved the division of the Namibe Basin Maritime Zone, in the south of the country, into 12 oil exploration blocks, according to an executive order from the country’s Oil Minister, Botelho de Vasconcelos.

The document, signed on February 6, noted that the decision was intended to “define and establish the division into blocks” of that sea area, thereby allowing for “future oil concessions”, reports news portal Macauhub.

The Namibe Basin Maritime Zone covers an area of ​​68,000 square kilometres off the coast of Namibe province.

Angolan oil company Sonangol announced last June it planned to put 12 offshore oil blocks up for auction this year, adding to 10 others on land currently subject to a bidding process.

The World Bank said in a report that the recent decline in oil prices would force Angola to accelerate the diversification of its economy.

“The new context makes the medium-term objective of the Angolan authorities to diversify the economy beyond oil more important,” stated the document, outlining the reasons for granting a US$500 million loan to the Angolan Government.

The Government has revised the State Budget proposal for 2015, cutting public spending by a third and reducing estimates for gross domestic product growth to 6.6 percent.