Congo, Angola Offshore Oil May Flow in 36 Months, Minister Says

Sonangol EP, Angola’s state oil company, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Cohydro may begin production from a shared offshore oil block in 36 months, Congo’s Oil Minister Crispin Atama said.

Angola and Congo will negotiate a new production-sharing agreement for block 14c, a so-called zone of common interest in the Atlantic Ocean, Atama said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Block 14c is known for its proven reserves and can enter into active production phase within 36 months,” Atama said. “This accord will open the way for a ‘super major’ of the oil industry with the technical capacity to develop such oil concessions in very deepwater zones.”

Congo pumps about 25,000 barrels a day and wants to expand output. Angola produced 1.78 million barrels a day in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, making it Africa’s second-biggest producer after Nigeria.

Companies including Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total SA, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc (BP/) already have projects in Angola’s Atlantic Ocean oilfields. Angola and Congo have long-standing disagreements over their maritime borders and access to the lucrative oil blocks there.

Cohydro signed a production-sharing agreement in 2006 to develop the zone of common interest with Nessergy Ltd., a company controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler.

Sonangol will pay Nessergy to sell its rights in the project, according to the statement. It did not mention the price.

“Sonangol will be reimbursed in turn from future revenues coming from production,” Atama said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa at mkavanagh9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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