Angola relaunches bidding for key oil fields

Angola has relaunched bidding for key oil fields in an attempt to redistribute potential oil wealth and to diversify the types of foreign companies that operate in the country.

Officials from Sonangol, the central African country's state-run oil company, announced their plans this week, travelling to London to negotiate new contracts in areas previously held by companies such as Total of France, BP and Exxon Mobil. Already, major oil companies control 72.5 per cent of the $40 billion worth of Angola's oil assets that are under development.

"We want to have a mixture of companies in Angola. Big majors, independents, but also small companies," said Carlos Saturnino, director of negotiations.

"For the Angolans, it would be healthier to have more competition," said Catriona O'Rourke of consulting group Wood Mackenzie. "Angola is probably in the top five of their most important places to invest" (Carola Hoyos, Financial Times [subscription required], Dec. 1).

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