(EnergyAsia, December 15 2014, Monday) — With the extra combined push from Chinese financing, French upstream expertise and South Korean shipbuilding, Angola is on course to becoming Africa’s largest oil producer with a two million b/d output target by 2017.

State-owned Angolan Oil Company or Sonangol last week secured a US$2 billion credit from the China Development Bank to build on the previous week’s launch of a modern US$9 billion floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit by France’s Total. Sonangol also signed an agreement for South Korean shipbuilder DSME to build two oil tankers to deliver crude to customers around the world.

Leading a delegation to Beijing, chairman and CEO Francisco de Lemos Jose Maria signed the 10-year credit facility with Zheng Zhijie, president of China’s largest financial institution, to support the West African’s development of its oil and gas reserves and an oil refinery. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Angola has been China’s second largest oil supplier since 2005.

Earlier in the month, Total officially launched its floating unit to produce crude oil from 34 underwater wells in Angola’s offshore Cravo, Lirio, Orquidea and Violeta (CLOV) fields which have combined reserves of over 500 million barrels of oil. Expected to operate for 20 years, the FPSO unit has the capacity to produce 160,000 b/d.

Apart from Mr Jose Maria, the ceremony was attended by Angolan Oil Minister José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanné and Total’s upstream president, Arnaud Breuillac, and other officials from both companies.

Despite the collapse in oil prices over the past six months, Angolan officials insist the country will push ahead with its plan to boost production from an estimated 1.8 million b/d last year to two million b/d by 2017, enabling it to overtake Nigeria as the continent’s largest producer.

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