Angolan Oil Exports Slip, Far Off 2 Mln Bpd Target

Source: Reuters 7/16/2013, Location: Africa

Angola's monthly crude exports will slip in September to 1.67 million barrels per day (bpd), a provisional shipping list showed, indicating that Africa's number two oil producer may struggle to reach an output target for next year. OPEC member Angola, which pumps nearly all of its oil from offshore fields, was scheduled to export 1.70 million bpd in August.

Production from the southern African country has reached a plateau in recent years, despite ambitions to boost output to at least 2 million bpd. Oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos was quoted as saying last year that Angola could increase production to this level by 2014. Flat output is mostly due to a natural decline in output of some fields, such as the Exxon Mobil-operated field Xicomba, although new volumes from Total's Pazflor have helped to offset the fall.

Reuters data shows that average monthly loadings are 1.72 million bpd in 2013 so far compared with top producer Nigeria's 1.90 million bpd. Output could jump if oil majors are successful in discovering fresh oil in the Kwanza Basin seabed, a region deemed to have a similar geology to Brazil where large fields containing high-quality light oil have been discovered.

"The 2 million bpd production figure seems ambitious. Production is also partly based on demand from different parts of the globe and that figure seems high based on current trade flows," said Rolake Akinkugbe, head of oil and gas research at Ecobank.

In a worrying development for Angola, which earns over 95 percent of export revenues from oil, Asian demand for West African crude has slowed in recent weeks. This is partly due to a stronger premium of Brent to Dubai grades - an indicator of export profitability to Asia.

The total volume of around 50 million barrels will be exported on 52 tankers, the programme showed. The shipping list indicated that the number of tankers from two of the largest fields, Plutonio and Dalia, would be unchanged at six in September. There will be no cargoes of Gimboa in September, it showed.

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