The coronavirus pandemic has done in a handful of months what even a 27-year civil war did not: it has brought oil drilling to a halt in Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer.
The consequences could be grave for a poor country that relies heavily on oil revenues and is saddled with debts that exceed its economic output.
The halt in oil exploration, which has not been previously reported, could represent a setback for one of the most ambitious economic reform drives on the continent, aimed at cleaning up corruption and attracting foreign money. It comes as Angola seeks buyers in its push to privatize state energy assets, which is central to the reform process.
An oil price crash last month to two-decade lows has prompted all international energy majors operating in Angola – Total, Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, and Eni – to idle or ditch their drilling rigs, according to company sources, Refinitiv ship-tracking data and industry experts.
France’s Total, responsible for almost half of Angola’s oil output, told Reuters it would not drill for more oil for now due to the coronavirus crisis, instead of focusing on current production.
Last updated on Wed., May 20, 2020.