Country Listing

Angola Table of Contents




Figure 7. Crude Oil Production, 1980-87

Source: Based on information from United Stated, Central Intelligence Agency, International Energy Statistical Review, November 27, 1984, 1; and September 27, 1988, 1.

As of December 1984, the country's total proven recoverable reserves of crude oil were estimated by Sonangol at 1.6 billion barrels. This amount was considered sufficient to maintain production at 1986 levels until the end of the century. Most Angolan oil is light and has a low sulfur content. As the only oil producer in southern Africa, Angola has promoted cooperation in energy matters on behalf of SADCC.

The first oil exploration concession was granted by the Portuguese authorities in 1910, but commercial production did not begin until 1956 when the Petroleum Company of Angola (Companhia de Petróleos de Angola--Petrangol) started operations in the Cuanza River Basin (see fig. 3). The company later discovered oil onshore in the Congo River Basin and became the operator for most of the onshore fields in association with Texaco, an American company, and Angol (a subsidiary of Portugal's SACOR). At about the same time, a subsidiary of the American-based Gulf Oil, the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (Cabgoc), began explorations in the Cabinda area in 1954 and started production in 1968. Production rose from 2.5 million tons in 1969 to 8.2 million tons in 1973, while exports nearly quadrupled in volume. Because of the added benefit of the 1973 oil price increase, the value of oil exports was almost twelve times higher in 1973 than in 1969, and oil finally surpassed coffee as the principal export. Crude oil production in the early 1980s dipped somewhat as a result of decreased investments. By 1983, however, production had rebounded and thereafter continued to set new output records (see fig. 7).

Data as of February 1989