UPDATE 1-Angola to hold tender for 12 new offshore oil blocks in 2015

Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:45pm EDT

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(Adds output goal, new projects, onshore licences)

LUANDA, June 20 (Reuters) - Angolan state oil company Sonangol plans to launch a tender for licences to explore 12 new offshore oil blocks in 2015, state news agency Angop cited Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos as saying on Friday.

Seven of the new blocks will be located in the Namibe Basin and the remaining five in the Lower Congo Basin, a Sonangol spokesman told Reuters.

Angola is Africa's biggest oil producer after Nigeria, with international majors such as France's Total, Italy's ENI, Britain's BP, and U.S. firms Chevron and Exxon Mobil among the main operators in the country.

Angop cited Vasconcelos, who was speaking at an oil conference in Moscow, as reiterating Angola's goal of ramping up production to 2 million barrels per day (mbpd) by 2015, from an average of 1.73 mbpd last year.

Angola depends on oil production for around 45 percent of its economic output and wants to increase crude production and offset declines at older fields with new projects.

Total in April decided to go ahead with the Kaombo project in offshore block 32, with investment estimated at $16 billion, production capacity of 230,000 barrels per day and output set to start in 2017.

Angola extracts nearly all its crude from offshore fields, but is also seeking to develop its onshore potential and is in the process of licensing 10 new onshore blocks. (Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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