Angola's Girassol to Join OPEC Crude Basket In September

LUANDA, Angola Aug 28, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Angola's Girassol crude will join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' oil reference basket next month, the group's Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said Tuesday.

Angola, one of the fastest-growing producers on the continent, became OPEC's 12th member in December. OPEC pumps about 40% of the 86 million barrels a day the world consumes.

Angola, which is quickly ramping up output at big offshore projects, still has no OPEC output quota. But once Angola's crude is part of the group's basket price, el-Badri said he expects full commitment from the OPEC newcomer.

El-Badri said Angola isn't a country which "can take a free ride," as it will have a lot to lose if oil prices are low and a lot to gain with reasonable prices.

El-Badri is on a four-day trip to Angola to analyze the country's oil output capacity and its growth plans. He also discussed the case for Angola to have an output quota, something that is expected to happen next year. No figures were disclosed during El-Badri's visit.

An output quota could crimp operations for oil giants Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total S.A. (TOT), BP PLC (BP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), which are investing billions in huge structures off the coast of Angola.

A recent string of discoveries promises even more opportunities for development in a country that is expected to be one of the major growth stories in terms of capacity over the next decade.

OPEC's reference basket, currently of 11 crude oils from the group's members, isn't used to set any oil prices in the market, but it does give a picture of the value of OPEC's output.

The basket typically trades around $3 a barrel below benchmark light sweet crude futures trading on New York's Mercantile Exchange.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.