Sonangol Angola to restructure state oil firm

Oil sales account for 95 percent of Angola's foreign exchange earnings, making Sonangol the biggest source of state funding.

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A woman walks past the head office of Angolan state oil company Sonangol in the capital Luanda, August 26, 2012. play A woman walks past the head office of Angolan state oil company Sonangol in the capital Luanda, August 26, 2012. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
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Angola, Africa's second largest oil exporter, will restructure state firm Sonangol, the oil ministry announced on Wednesday, aiming to "increase efficiency and profitability".

Sonangol will continue to focus on exploration and production while two new entities - the Agency and the Superior Council - will be responsible for regulation and administration, Petroleum Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said.

The Superior Council will report directly to Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, it said.

Oil sales account for 95 percent of Angola's foreign exchange earnings, making Sonangol the biggest source of state funding.

The Agency will negotiate contracts and liaise between government and private industry including oil majors such as Exxon, Chevron, Total, BP and Eni.

The Superior Council will manage the state's shareholding in Sonangol, Botelho de Vasconcelos said, without giving details. The restructuring was coordinated by dos Santos.

Sonangol said in February that debt it owes to foreign oil companies had soared and it expected a very difficult year.

More than a year of low oil prices has hammered Africa's third largest economy and Angola's government is in discussions with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund about possible financial assistance.

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