LUANDA, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Angola can reach its production goal of 2 million barrels of oil per day in 2015 despite a drop in output last year, the chief executive of state oil firm Sonangol said on Tuesday.
Francisco Lemos Jose Maria told a news conference that output in Angola, Africa’s second largest oil producer, dropped 1.1 percent in 2013 due to technical problems at blocks run by France’s Total, BP, and U.S. firms Chevron and Exxon Mobil.
He added, however, that two new projects - Total’s CLOV in block 17 and ENI’s West Hub in block 15/06 - are due to come on line this year and will help Angola reach its goal.
Production averaged 1.72 million barrels per day in 2013.
The company also expects several fields to start output in 2015, including Chevron’s Lianvi field in block 0 and satellite fields in Exxon Mobil’s block 15.
Sonangol recently approved Total’s Kaombo project in block 32, with an expected peak output of 225,000 barrels per day and it also expects to make a final decision this year on Cobalt’s Cameia project.
The Cameia project could start output in 2017 to become the first producer in the promising pre-salt layer off Angola.
“These developments give us confidence that oil output can be stabilised at 2 million barrels per day, which we expect to reach in 2015,” Jose Maria told a news conference.
China remained the main buyer of Sonangol’s exports in 2013, taking 45 percent of the total.
“China, despite having some slowdown in its development, is still a big energy consumer and will continue to be so for some time,” board member Anabela Fonseca told the conference.
The United States dropped to fourth from third in the list of Angolan oil buyers due to its progess in producing its own shale oil, she added.