Angola to launch big oil block under shadow of OPEC cuts

The Kaombo Norte floating production, storage and offloading vessel can pump 115,000 barrels per day, half the oil block’s eventual production. (Courtesy Total)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Angola to launch big oil block under shadow of OPEC cuts

LONDON: The first vessel that will pump and store oil for Angola’s 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) Kaombo project is en route to the West African nation, operator Total said.
The Kaombo oil block will produce its first oil this summer, Total said on Thursday. Once it is fully up and running, it will add roughly 14 percent to the OPEC member’s average 2017 output of 1.632 million bpd.
The Kaombo Norte floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel left Singapore earlier this week, Total said. It can pump 115,000 bpd, half the oil block’s eventual production.
The $16 billion offshore project will add a significant amount of oil to Africa’s number two exporter at a time when it is bound by output limits under a deal orchestrated by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
A source close to the project said the block was expected to pump roughly 100,000 bpd by August.
Another FPSO, Kaombo Sul, is still in Singapore.
OPEC is reducing output by roughly 1.2 million bpd as part of a deal with Russia and other producers that began in January 2017 and was extended until the end of 2018.
So far, Angola has complied comfortably, pumping even less than the maximum agreed. Last month, its output of 1.6 million bpd amounted to 194 percent of compliance with promised cuts of 78,000 bpd.
Declining production at mature fields has cut into Angola’s output, but the Kaombo addition could complicate efforts to maintain compliance.
Angola’s state oil company Sonangol has said production will be roughly steady this year, and the above-target cuts earlier in the year could keep its average compliance for the year within OPEC’s limits.
Longer term, Angola is expected to struggle just to maintain output, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) warning that only Venezuela will see a bigger drop in production over the next five years.
Angola’s oil production peaked at 1.9 million bpd in 2008, the IEA said, warning in its five-year outlook that capacity will drop by some 370,000 bpd by 2023 even with the new projects.
“Angola is expected to post the biggest slide in capacity after Venezuela as aging oil fields lose steam and foreign investors, faced with relatively uncompetitive prospects, lose enthusiasm,” the IEA said.


In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

In this file photo taken on March 26, 2018, Air France's Executive Vice President Customer Division Anne Rigail speaks during a press conference to announce the re-opening of direct flight between Paris and Nairobi, in Nairobi on March 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

  • As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group

PARIS: When the leaders of global airlines posed for a photo in June, there were 25 men in dark suits and a lone woman in the last seat on the far right.
That could be changing, but very slowly.
Air France announced Wednesday that Anne Rigail will take over as CEO next week. Rigail, a 27-year company veteran and currently an executive vice president, will be the first woman to lead the French carrier, which was formed in 1933. Parent company Air France-KLM Group will continue to be led by a man, however.
Few women have run large airlines. Carolyn McCall was CEO of British low-cost carrier EasyJet for seven years until leaving this year to run British broadcaster ITV. Christine Ourmieres-Widener, the woman in the June photo of CEOs, leads Flybe, a European regional airline that has fewer than 100 planes.
In the United States, Air Wisconsin, a regional airline that operates United Express flights, is led by CEO Christine Deister, and another regional, Cape Air, has a female president, Linda Markham.
But no major US carrier has ever had a female CEO, and only a few women hold other top jobs. In May, JetBlue Airways named Joanna Geraghty president and chief operating officer — the No. 2 job. Tammy Romo has been chief financial officer at Southwest Airlines since 2012, succeeding another woman. Elize Eberwein is an executive vice president at American Airlines.
As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group. That is unchanged from a 2010 survey.
Women in the industry have said airlines need to do more to recruit and promote women, provide better mentoring, and encourage those who take maternity leave to return to their careers.
The International Air Transport Association — that’s the group whose leaders were pictured in June — has declared gender equality a priority. The group reported in March that only 3 percent of aviation CEOs are women, compared with 12 percent in other industries.
It didn’t help, however, that the association’s new president, Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, suggested that women aren’t up to the job of running an airline.
“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” he said at a news conference. He later apologized.
As the new CEO at Air France, Rigail will certainly have her challenges. The airline faces contentious wage negotiations with pilots and flight attendants and has been hit by a series of damaging strikes. The last CEO quit after union employees rejected his offer of small pay raises for the next four years.
In a statement issued by Air France, Rigail said she is extremely honored by the promotion. Benjamin Smith, the CEO of parent Air France-KLM Group, said Rigail has always paid special attention to employees, and he expressed confidence that the airline can meet its challenges.