Expect more oil from Angola

May 9 (UPI) — Reaching a production plateau off the coast of Angola stabilizes output at more than 150,000 barrels of oil per day, Italian energy company Eni said.

The company said Wednesday it reached a production plateau of 24,000 barrels per day at its Ochigufu field off the coast of Angola less than two months after operations began. This allows for Eni’s operated production from the regional block to hold steady at more than 150,000 barrels per day.

The next step for Eni off the coast of Angola, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will be three regional developments set to start production by early next year.

“These start-ups will add further 30,000 barrels of oil to the overall production from Block 15/06, which in 2019 will exceed 170,000 barrels per day,” the Italian company stated.

Angola is one of the lesser producers in OPEC, churning out around 1.5 million barrels per day last month, but the second-largest member-state producer in Africa. Production for the West African nation is close to a two-year low, however, and March output was lower than the previous month by 5 percent.

Angolan energy company Sonangol is working with a group of international partners to make the country’s oil sector more attractive to investors. Action taken by President João Lourenço, meanwhile, would make it easier for major oil players to grab new acreage offshore.

Maja Bovcon, a senior analyst for Africa at Verisk Maplecroft, said Angola could be on the cusp of a production turnaround.

“The fact that the new legislation has been adopted as a presidential decree, which is faster than passing it through the parliament, indicates Lourenço’s commitment to speed up the reform of the oil and gas sector,” Bovcon said.

The new start up at Ochigufu comes roughly a year after Eni operations began at the East Hub project in deep Angolan waters using an offshore floating production vessel capable of generating up to 80,000 barrels per day.