Angola and Total inaugurated a new deep-sea oil field worth $ 16 billion on Saturday.
This is expected to boost the production of the African nation since the fall in crude prices that plunged its economy into crisis in 2014.
Located 250 km off the capital Luanda, the Kaombo project is the largest offshore operation ever launched in Angola.
For the first time in the world, a network of more than 300 kilometers of tubes was laid up to 2,000 meters under the sea to raise hydrocarbons on the surface.
The first of the two ships, Kaombo Norte, produced its first oil last July. The other, Kaombo Sul is expected by mid 2019.
Eventually, they must produce 230,000 barrels a day, or 15% of the country’s current production for total reserves estimated at 660 million barrels.
‘‘Kaombo opens a new chapter in Total’s commitment to Angola. It will produce 230,000 barrels of oil per day on a plateau basis and will enable Total to maintain world production of 600,000 barrels per day by 2023, or 40% more or less of the country’s production. So let me be clear, Minister of State ( Manuel Nunes Júnior), the future of our company is deeply linked to the future of your country’‘, said CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanne.
The project is led by the French group, Total in partnership with the Angolan national company Sonangol, Sinopec from China, Esso, the United States and Portugal’s Galp.
Total produces 40% of the crude oil extracted from Angola, the second largest supplier of sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria.
In the early 2000s, Angola experienced a period of very strong double-digit growth fueled by oil.
But in 2014, the sharp drop in crude prices, which sold 90% of its exports and 70% of its revenue, pushed the country into recession and brought down the national currency.
The price of the barrel reached its highest in four years last month but has recently fallen.
Angolan President Joao Lourenço, elected in 2017 after thirty-eight years of Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s reign, has promised the country an “economic miracle” that has been triggered by the revival of its oil production.
Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Diamantino Azevedo said “our goal is to maintain production, the government has pledged that this figure will not decline during its term”.
Angola is considered one of the poorest countries in Africa. Nearly half of its population live below the poverty line.