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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
BP to pour $7bn into Angola
Angolan oil worker looks out at deepwater drilling rig
Big oil: deeply involved in Angola's offshore oil fields
British oil company BP Amoco is planning to invest $7bn (4.9bn) in its operations in Angola over the next decade.

The money will be spent on strengthening staffing in Angola and funding exploration and drilling in six deep-water blocks - or licence areas - off the coast of the country.

BP, the third biggest international oil company after US giant ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell, has already invested about $1bn in exploration in the area, BP said.

Block 18 is the furthest advanced, with oil found in all six wells drilled to date. All six lie within a 20km radius, and the company said it hopes to begin production from the block in 2006.

Deep water

BP also has 50% of block 18, which it shares with Shell.

The other main site which BP operates is block 31, in which BP retains a 26.6% stake.

The concession cost it an estimated $333m in signing-on fees to the government in 1999.

Four other international oil companies including US giant ExxonMobil and France's TotalFinaElf hold stakes in the block ranging from 5% to 25%, while the Angolan state oil company Sonangol holds 20%.

The other sites, in which BP is simply a partner with other operators, are blocks 5, 15, 17 and 21.

Drilling in Angola's offshore sites is an expensive proposition, thanks to water depths in excess of 1km.

Block 31 is even deeper, with a bottom over 2km deep.

BP has been in Angola since the mid-1970s.

Cleaning up

As a whole Angola pumps about 760,000 barrels a day, which makes it the second biggest producer in sub-Saharan Africa behind Nigeria.

BP logo
BP is trying to improve its image in Angola
Earlier this year BP became one of the first oil companies to reveal what payments it has made to host countries, starting with Angola, in exchange for operating there.

Angola has been mired in civil war for a quarter of a century, and non-government organisations have often criticised alleged links between foreign arms dealers, the government, the central bank and the state oil company.

In January the International Monetary Fund engaged accountants KPMG to audit payments made by oil companies against the Angolan government's budget, to check what has been done with the money.

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Business
BP takes over in Germany
02 Jul 01 | Business
BP's petrol profits rise
13 Feb 01 | Business
BP's Angolan oil interest
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