Angolan state oil firm Sonangol to open trading office in China
LUANDA (Reuters) - Angolan state oil firm Sonangol plans to open its fourth international trading office in China, the country's top crude export destination, Chief Executive Francisco Lemos Jose Maria said on Monday.
Angola, which is Africa's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, sold almost half its crude to China last year.
Asia has become Angola's main market, with India also overtaking the United States - once the top buyer - as the second-biggest importer of Angolan oil in 2012.
"We have three trading offices, selling crude oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas in America (Houston), the United Kingdom (London) and Singapore, and we are about to establish in mainland China for the crude oil trade as well," Jose Maria said in a presentation to a trade delegation from Belgium.
He did not detail when the new office will be opened.
The CEO said Angola is seeking to raise oil production to 2 million barrels per day (mbpd) from around 1.75 mbpd currently, and once that target is reached the goal will be to sustain the level "for at least 10 years".
Angola's oil minister said earlier this year the country wants to reach the target in 2015.
"We are about to approve oil projects to develop 3 billion barrels in the next few months," Jose Maria said.
Sonangol last month said it plans to hold bidding this year and next for licences to explore for oil onshore in 10 new blocks in the Kwanza and Lower Congo basins.
Jose Maria said Sonangol wanted to expand the $10 billion liquefied natural gas plant - Angola LNG - which started exports this year.
"If there are enough resources, and we believe there are, we will expand the 5.5 million-tonne unit we have in the north of the country," he said.
U.S. oil company Chevron (CVX.N) operates the project with a 36.4 percent shareholding, while Sonangol has a 22.8 percent stake. Total (TOTF.PA), BP (BP.L) and ENI (ENI.MI) hold 13.6 percent each.
(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by David Evans)
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