SINGAPORE Angola is planning to launch a bidding round for onshore oil exploration rights next year in a bid to double production by the end of the decade, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
The plan follows the signing in December of oil exploration deals between Angola's state oil firm Sonangol and seven oil majors including France's Total (TOTF.PA), Britain's BP (BP.L) and U.S. firm Cobalt (CIE.N).
Africa's second largest oil producer after Nigeria will offer exploration rights in the onshore part of the Kwanza Basin, which mirrors one off Brazil where major volumes of high-quality light oil have been discovered in recent years, a senior minister told the newspaper.
"I would not advance figures but the only thing I would say it's very, very lucrative, more than we expected," Manuel Vicente was quoted by the FT as saying.
Cobalt in February announced results from tests at a deep sea oil well in the Kwanza Basin had exceeded expectations. Analysts predicted reserve potential at the Cameia well could exceed 2 billion barrels and be worth up to $2.6 billion.
Angola wants to boost output to 3.5 million barrels per day from 1.8 million by 2020, Vicente said.
Angola depends on crude output for 95 percent of its export revenues, making its economy vulnerable to the swings of the global oil market.
(Writing by Randy Fabi, editing by Miral Fahmy)