- The government of São Tomé and Príncipe, with Angolan help, plans to establish a national oil company within the end of this year. The new company is to assure local ownership over the expected upcoming offshore oil production.
The announcement was made in Luanda today, together with the Angolan state oil company Sonangol, which in the beginning is partnering with São Toméan authorities.
Government plans its new oil company to focus on São Tomé's exclusive economic offshore sector, where it is to participate in the exploitation of known oil reserves together with Sonangol. The company is not to be engaged in the Nigerian-São Toméan joint sector, where the process towards starting oil expoitation has come further. At least not at this stage.
São Toméan Prime Minister Rafael Branco is currently on an official visit to the Angolan capital, Luanda, where he has met with his Angolan counterpart Paulo Kassoma and the Sonangol leadership to sign the cooperation agreement. PM Branco said he was delighted being offered to take "advantage of the experience of Angola in the oil field, by establishing a partnership with Sonangol."
Although two areas with substantial oil production potential have been identified off the São Toméan coast - in the country's exclusive zone and in the joint development zone with Nigeria - the archipelago has not yet begun to produce oil. Government expects that this will happen in the next two or three years.
So far, mostly minor Nigerian and international oil companies have been involved in São Toméan blocks. The small size of most of these companies has somewhat derailed government's plans to start producing oil as soon as possible.
São Toméan authorities hope that teaming up with Sonangol will fasten the process of oil exploitation. Also, an own national oil company is expected to address the increased problem of limited state control of São Toméan offshore oil activities.
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