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Angola’s Natural Gas Revolution: Leading Africa’s Energy Transition

Angola is at the forefront of a natural gas revolution that is poised to transform the continent’s energy landscape. From exploration and production to exports, the Angolan oil and natural gas industry is buzzing with new initiatives. Over the past year, international oil companies and the Angolan government have collaborated to award numerous regional operators with service contracts worth billions of dollars.

Major Developments in Angola’s Natural Gas Sector

In August 2022, the development of the Quiluma and Maboqueiro gas fields in the Lower Congo Basin offshore Angola moved forward. Italian multinational oilfield services company Saipem was awarded USD 900 million across three engineering, procurement, and construction contracts for both onshore and offshore work at three separate sites. This progress is largely attributed to the New Gas Consortium (NGC) and its partnership with Angola’s National Agency for Oil, Gas & Biofuels.

The NGC, led by Italian hydrocarbon giant ENI, includes France’s TotalEnergies, Britain’s BP, Angola’s Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, and Sonangol as shareholders. Production at the Quiluma and Maboqueiro fields is expected to begin in 2026, with an estimated output of four billion cubic meters (bcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually.

Angola’s Strategic Approach

This success story is one among many in Angola, made possible by the welcoming and investment-friendly environment that Angolan leadership has cultivated. Despite being sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer, with an output of approximately 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, Angola aims to increase production further. ExxonMobil’s Block 15 deep water discovery at the Kizomba B area, with investments from Azule Energy, Equinor, and Sonangol, exemplifies this ambition.

Angola is committed to growing these numbers by starting new wells and reevaluating mature facilities. This proactive approach and commitment to continuous progress should serve as a model for other African countries.

Unlocking Angola’s Natural Gas Potential

Angola sits atop 27 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, a largely untapped resource that promises vast employment opportunities, a route away from energy poverty, and a bridge to a sustainable energy future. Effective governance is crucial for ensuring this economic development benefits both Angola and Africa.

Since taking office in 2017, President João Lourenço has focused on strengthening Angola’s oil and gas sector while enriching its population. His long-term strategy aims to expand LNG exports and further develop the gas industry. Lourenço’s comprehensive efforts to improve Angola’s business environment and combat corruption have made the nation more attractive to foreign investment. The reappointment of Diamantino Pedro Azevedo as Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum, and Gas underscores this commitment.

President Lourenço’s vision includes more than just exporting hydrocarbons. His plan encompasses expanding refining and storage facilities, transitioning to a low-carbon economy through photovoltaic power plants, green hydrogen production, and increasing the use of clean energy sources like hydroelectric power. He believes fostering productive international relationships will secure future business partnerships.

Angola’s Ready-Made Market

In 2023, President Lourenço’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden resulted in Angola being declared a strategic partner, with billions of U.S. dollars invested in photovoltaic power for four southern provinces. The ongoing war in Ukraine has left Europe in a precarious situation regarding natural gas supplies. President Lourenço believes Angola can offer Europe an alternative LNG source through European investment and cooperation.

Angola’s potential to expand its presence in the global LNG market is significant. Even without immediate European support, an economic boom is anticipated, fast-tracking Angola’s LNG production and exports in the coming years.

System-Wide Improvements

Beyond the Quiluma and Maboqueiro fields, other natural gas projects are underway in Angola. The Angola LNG Project, a joint venture led by Chevron and Sonangol, processes and monetizes 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, reducing gas flaring and greenhouse gas emissions.

Sonangol has also modernized its plant in Cabinda, tripling its gas filling capabilities to 9,000 cylinders per day, increasing regional gas availability by 28%. By next year, the 750 MW Soyo II combined-cycle power plant is expected to be operational, contributing to a nationwide effort to expand electricity access by nearly 20% via gas-to-power generation.

The Falcão Natural Gas Project aims to diversify Angola’s natural gas industry by producing fertilizer, reducing reliance on imports, and lowering agricultural costs. These developments, along with assurances from Minister Azevedo about upcoming floating LNG platforms, paint a positive picture for Angola’s energy future.

The African Energy Chamber celebrates Angola’s progress in the LNG sector. Natural gas offers a clean, practical energy source capable of eradicating energy poverty and boosting local economies across Africa while paving the way for a just energy transition.

CLG’s Energy Transition Centre: Supporting Angola’s Natural Gas Revolution

At CLG Energy Transition Centre, we are dedicated to supporting Africa’s journey towards a just and sustainable transition. Our comprehensive advisory and legal services assist international clients in navigating the African natural gas market. We provide expertise in identifying business opportunities, securing financing, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. Our extensive network and deep understanding of the energy sector enable us to facilitate partnerships with local businesses and governments, driving the development of sustainable energy projects across the continent. Partner with us to leverage Africa’s natural resources for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Shaping Africa’s Future at the Energy Transition Centre

As we embark on a critical journey towards a sustainable energy future, your involvement is crucial. The Energy Transition Centre at CLG is at the forefront of transforming Africa’s energy landscape, advocating for an energy mix, including renewable energy adoption to foster economic growth and improve quality of life. We invite you to join us in this essential mission. Whether you’re an industry expert, a policy maker, or a concerned citizen, your contribution can make a significant difference. For guidance, insights, or to share your ideas, feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions:

Together, we can shape a brighter, more sustainable future.