BP to Invest $7 Billion in Angola Over Ten Years

BP intends to invest $7 billion in its Angolan operations over the next decade, executive president John Browne said during a visit to the southwest African country. "Our big project is the formation and investment in Angolan staffing," stated Browne. Browne met on Wednesday with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Petroleum Minister Jose de Maria Vaconcelos and officials with the state oil company Sonangol. Browne said BP had invested $1 billion in exploring the ultra-deep (6,560 feet deep) water of block 31, as operator of block 18 and as a partner in blocks five, 15, 17, and 21.

BP's deep water block 18 fields, including Platina, Plutonio, Galio, Paladio, Cromio and Cobalto, will begin production in 2006.. BP has been in Angola since 1990. The company paid an estimated $333 million in a signing bonus to the government in 1999 to secure the operating rights and a 26.7 per cent share in block 31, the northernmost of three concessions in ultra deep water.

As one of the world's top three integrated oil firms behind ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell, BP pumps about three million barrels per day globally. It hopes to employ 500 workers in Angola when block 18 production starts. Angola pumps some 760,000 barrels a day, sub-Sahara Africa's second leading producer behind Nigeria. Production is expected to hit 900,000 bpd when TotalFinaElf's giant Girassol project comes on line late this year.