Angola’s Sonangol interested in oil exploitation in Sao Tome and Principe

26 February 2010

Luanda, Angola, 26 Feb – Sonangol is interested in exploiting oil reserves in Sao Tome and Principe if the operation is “attractive”, the president of Angola’s state-held oil company stated on Thursday in Luanda.

Manuel Vicente said the most likely format for Sonangol’s entrance in Sao Tome and Principe would be a joint investment by oil companies from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).

The first auction of blocs in Sao Tome’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ) is scheduled for 2 March in London.

Besides the Angolan enterprise, the consortium would be open to Petrobras of Brazil and Galp Energia of Portugal, as well as Sao Tome and Principe’s national oil company, Vicente said.

“Nothing is definite yet – talks have concerned a common investment approach in the CPLP context with Sonangol, Petrobras, Galp and Sao Tome’s oil company,” he specified.

However, a source from the Brazilian oil company recently said it would not take part in the public oil exploration tender to be launched by the Sao Tome and Principe government in March, but offered no further explanations.

Vicente emphasized that Sonangol has long been present in various sectors in Sao Tome to justify its interest in taking part in all oil-related businesses in that island country.

“We’ve been in Sao Tome for many years. There are close ties, we have a business presence, a leading position, and we’re not only in petroleum. In 2009 we signed an agreement to control the duty-free zone and operate the airport,” he said.

Regarding oil matters, the work of Songangol “has been more to advise the government regarding organization of its legal framework in the oil area and definition of a strategy more in line with reality from the oil exploration standpoint,” the company’s president said.

He stressed that “we are interested in being present in bidding for blocs in Sao Tome”.