Miniscule Portugal in the 15th century used its Atlantic coastline to establish a global empire, which included Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and even Macao in far-off China.
Five centuries later, former Portuguese colonies are discovering trade commonalities, particularly rising petro-states Angola and Brazil.
On 16 June, Angola sent its first liquefied natural gas shipment not to lucrative East Asian markets, but to – Brazil.
While Brazil wriggled out from under Lisbon’s control in 1821, Angola had to wait until 1975 and the collapse of the Portuguese dictatorship, after which the country descended into a vicious civil war that only ended in 2002.
What unites the two former colonies is that they are both rising petro-states.
Of Latin America’s largest country the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration notes in its country analysis brief, “Brazil is the ninth largest energy consumer in the world and the third largest in the Western Hemisphere, behind the United States and Canada. Total primary energy consumption in Brazil has increased by close to a third in the last decade, due to sustained economic growth. In addition, Brazil has made great strides in increasing its total energy production, particularly oil and ethanol. Increasing domestic oil production has been a long-term goal of the Brazilian government, and recent discoveries of large offshore, pre-salt oil deposits could transform Brazil into one of the largest oil producers in the world.”
The EIA notes, “Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria, and recent exploration suggests that Angola's reserves may be larger than initially estimated. Successful exploration in Angola's pre-salt formations continues to drive optimistic oil production forecasts for the country, and the Angolan government is targeting 2 million barrel per day production levels by 2014. With the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) scheduled to leave Angola in early 2013, the country is in a position to capitalize on the high demand for LNG to bolster its export portfolio.”
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And where is that initial Angola LNG shipment headed?
Nope – Brazil.
Angola’s official press agency, Agência Angola Press (ANGOP), announced on 17 June that Angola’s first consignment of liquefied natural gas produced by Sonangás, a subsidiary of national oil company Grupo Sonangol, which sent its first LNG consignment to Brazil on the Sonangol Sambizanga tanker, carrying 160,000 cubic meters.
Angola LNG Ltd chairman of marketing, Artur Pereira said, "The Angola LNG seeks to be a trustworthy and competitive supplier, a strong partner in the sector for the economic development of Angola. The project is a solution adopted to reduce the burning of gas and environmental pollution, through the development of the gas associated with the Angolan offshore oil fields, with the purpose of supplying clean and reliable energy to our clients and make the investments of our stakeholders profitable. This event marks the start of a new production unit, which had not happened since 2010, and is a new source to meet the growing global demand for LNG.”
Angola LNG intends to process and deliver 5.2 million tons of LNG annually, in addition to propane, butane and condensed gases, straight from its Soyo plant, in northern Zaire province. The Angola Soyo LNG facility is also partners with U.S.-based Chevron, Britain's BP, Italy's ENI and France's Total.
And the future?
Apparently the sky’s the limit, as EIA notes, “Angola has proved reserves of natural gas of 10.95 trillion cubic feet. That is the fifth-largest endowment in Africa, and ranks second in Sub-Saharan Africa behind only Nigeria.”
Despite linguistic and cultural connections, Brazil is not the only Latin American petro-state interested in its Southern Atlantic African neighbor. Last week Venezuelan ambassador to Angola, Garcia Jesus Alberto, during a working visit to Mbaza Kongo in northern Zaire province reminded the press covering his trip that Angola and Venezuela signed a deal on energy in 2006 during the visit of the late president Hugo Chavez to Angola and noted an existing agreement subsequently signed between the Sonangol and Venezuelan state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), which resulted in the company receiving concessions on two oil blocs.
Despite African fears of U.S. imperialism and Chinese expansion, Latin America is poised to capture some elements of rising West African production, a scenario that no doubt unsettles Washington as much as it undoubtedly discomfits Beijing.
By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com