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Angola Kicks Oil Privatization Into Overdrive

Angola is seeking buyers for state insurer ENSA as part of a privatization drive that also includes the partial sale of state oil major Sonangol.

The aim of the government is to sell a majority stake in ENSA by the end of November and then the rest of its holding in the company in two to five years, Reuters reported, citing the company’s board chairman.

Angola has earmarked for sale as many as 195 state-owned assets, with the disposals to be completed by the end of next year. Sonangol, a crown jewel, will be privatized next year, along with diamond miner Endiama and the national airline, TAAG.

Early last year, Angola’s government said it planned to begin the process of privatizing Sonangol before 2022 but the pandemic put a spoke in the wheels of this plan. That plan envisaged first conducting a major overhaul of the troubled company and then listing 30 percent of it on the stock exchange.

Angola’s natural resources minister suggested at the time the process will be challenging.

“Sonangol is like an octopus, it’s everywhere... there are properties everywhere, in Portugal, here, Singapore, aviation, resorts, hotels,” Diamantino Azevedo said in January last year.

The state-owned company last month sold the stakes it held in eight offshore blocks saying the move was part of a reassessment of its portfolio. It also aimed at ensuring Sonangol could meet its exploration and production targets, the chair of the company’s upstream executive committee said at the time.

Angola is the second-largest oil producing country in sub-Saharan Africa, pumping an estimated 1.37 million bpd of oil and around 17.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas. However, production in the country has been far below its full potential due to low investment in recent years owing to the drop in oil prices between 2014 and 2016. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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