BP Angola Chief Lobbies for More Exploration as Country Posts Relatively High Oil Discovery Success Rates

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Regional President of oil and gas company, BP Angola, Stephen Willis, has called for more exploration in the country despite a recent dip in spending experienced all across the industry.

Speaking in the country’s capital Luanda at a high-profile event dubbed the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference, he highlighted the sector’s reduced exploration spending from $7 billion in 2013 to a current $2 billion.

Willis, however, insisted that reduced exploration is not only an ‘Angola effect’ but a global one. He also reminded the audience that Angola has a very high exploration success rate.

“Despite reduced exploration, Angola’s success rate is over 50%, against a global average of 30%,” he explained.

The summit was opened by Angola’s President João Lourenço this June, who highlighted the various reforms made by his administration to revitalize the industry and insisted on the role of gas monetization to spur industrialization and economic growth.

The event hosted global CEOs and energy investors, and more than 1,000 oil industry stakeholders.

In a bid to prove that exploration in Angola is a rewarding venture, Guido Brusco, Executive Vice President of ENI – an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome – talked about finding close to 2 billion barrels of oil in the country over the past 12 months with two major discoveries.

“Continuous belief in exploration and its ability to create and transform industries really matters,” Brusco said.

“Our recent discovery in Block 15/06 is a testament to the potential Angola has to yield world-class discoveries in the coming years,” he continued.

At the Summit, the spotlight was given to exploration on an exciting panel sponsored by Schlumberger and moderated by NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group.

The aptly named ‘Restructuring and Remodeling of Upstream Angola’ panel gave the opportunity for leading Angolan and international executives to look at the status of current exploration efforts globally amidst reduced spending and decreasing production across most African oil producing nations.

Joining state-owned Sonangol E&P’s CEO Ricardo Van-Deste on the panel were Willis, Regional President, BP Angola; Guido Brusco, Executive VP for Sub-Saharan Africa at ENI; Carri Lockhart, Senior VP at Equinor; Derek Magness, Executive Manager at Chevron; Pedro Ribeiro, Deputy General Manager at Total Angola; and ExxonMobil Angola General Manager, André Kostelnik.

A series of reforms enacted by the Angolan administration since 2017 has also been lauded as the result of a purpose-driven government focused on restoring investors’ trust.

“What the Angolan government has done over the past years is nothing short of a revolution. We are witnessing a complete revitalization of the contractual and governmental framework which will show up in the form of increased market activity,” Willis explained.

Also discussed was the empowerment of women in the oil & gas industry. In the presence of First Lady Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço and Pam Dawin, Vice President for Africa at ExxonMobil, operators on the panel made strong commitments to encourage more diversity in their workplace by skilling women and promoting them to leadership roles.

Exploration has overall remained a key theme throughout the day.

“Angola has generated tremendous excitement for upstream opportunities,” noted Africa Oil & Power CEO, Guillaume Doane.

“New entrants are looking at acquiring licenses and existing operators have renewed their commitment to the country. These are concrete first steps in Angola’s quest to reverse oil production decline,” he said.


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