Harare – Angola has approved revision of legislation to allow oil and gas pre-exploration studies to be carried out in some areas previously designated as natural reserves.
Angola’s constitution and applicable Presidential Decrees mandate that oil and gas exploration only be carried out in a manner that is environmentally friendly. The proposed new law secured a majority of over 70 percent in Angola’s parliament.
The adoption of the new law by such a strong majority, despite earlier concerns, is an acknowledgement of the role oil has played in bringing prosperity to Angola. It is also an endorsement of the sector’s regulator, the Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis (ANPG), which is charged with ensuring that the highest environmental standards are adhered to during oil and gas exploration and production.
“Angola’s oil wealth has by no means spared it from criticism about the unfair distribution of wealth, inequality in society and, in some cases, the misappropriation of state funds. These concerns are legitimate and should be looked at by the state.
“Where people are found to have profited unduly, it is important that they be held accountable and that justice be unbiasedly served as per the law and in the name of the People of Angola. The sector’s ability to generate wealth for Angola in itself is not the problem. Neither is the oil sector’s ability to generate that wealth at all in question.
“Concerns are rather centred on the use of the revenues generated and its fair distribution. These concerns should be addressed adequately by the relevant authorities. However, all sections of Angolan society and Angola’s international partners should continue to support the country’s oil and gas sector, to ensure that it continues to generate revenues for the development of the country.
“This is ever more important, given growing competition globally from new frontiers like Guyana, shale in the USA, and a global transition discourse that is adversely affecting the financing of oil exploration projects in Africa,” noted AOP .
The government also created the national Agency for Private Investment and Promotion of Exports (AIPEX) which serves to identify key products to stimulate exports promote private investment and the internationalisation of companies outside of the oil and gas sector.
These new programmes and institutions benefit from financing generated by the oil sector.
AIPEX currently has two flagship programmes: one focusing on attracting private investment and another that focuses on exports and the internationalisation of companies, with a view towards providing a “one-stop shop” resource for private investment across sectors and for the export business.
As the oil and gas sector continues to attract private sector players, an investor-friendly environment opens the door for multinationals to enter the market and establish other, non-energy businesses in their portfolio in Angola, as well.