January 12, 2020 / 6:37 AM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 2-Equatorial Guinea to add 20,000 bpd of oil production this year

(Adds comments on OPEC+ agreement, details on future bid round)

By Dahlia Nehme

ABU DHABI, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea will add 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production by October, the country's oil minister said on Sunday.

"We expect an increase this year of around 20,000 bpd additional because of the new discoveries," Gabriel Obiang Lima told reporters on the sidelines of an energy event.

Equatorial Guinea, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), currently produces 120,000 bpd.

Asked about the need to extend the OPEC+ production cuts agreement beyond March, the minister said the deal should be maintained if the oil price range remains between $60 and $70 a barrel.

"As an OPEC member, if the price is between $60 to $70 then we are happy, we are achieving. If we do evaluation and that price continues then we should maintain the deal and continue forward," he said.

In the country's budget for 2020, the oil prices is forecast at $51 a barrel, he said.

Obiang Lima also said agreements and memorandums of understanding for two new oil refineries would be announced in April.

Plans for new energy projects worth $1 billion, including the two refineries, were announced in November.

Construction of the two refineries, which are expected to process up to 40,000 bpd of crude oil, is expected to start by the end of the year, Lima said.

Equatorial Guinea will also probably announce a new bidding round for several exploration blocks in April, the minister said.

"In April we are probably going to announce new blocks that will be put for licensing...it will be direct negotiations.. they are about four to five blocks," he said.

U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil plans to shed its operations in the country along with $25 billion worth of other assets worldwide as it seeks to free up cash to focus on a handful of mega-projects.

On Sunday, Obiang Lima said an announcement would be made in June on who would invest in the Zafiro oilfield after Exxon exits.

"For the development of Zafiro we are talking to companies from Russia, the UK and Equatorial Guinea itself," he said, adding that in the south of the field there is a discovery he believes is the same size as the field itself.

"Production in Zafiro field is currently 90,000 (bpd)." (Reporting By Dahlia Nehme, Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Richard Pullin)

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