World Oil Exports [01] Angola

Angola is one of the few oil producing countries with a bright future ahead. Decades of war prevented the country from developing it's energy resources properly, but is now becoming one of the largest world oil exporters in a period of rampant prices. Just as if Fortune decided to compensate Angola for its misfortunes during the XX century.

Becoming an OPEC member just recently, Angola is set to build one of the strongest economies in Africa, with its GDP growing over 30% 15% annually (numbers here), one of the highest rates in the world. Hopefully Oil will be just the trigger of a golden era in a country that possesses other important natural resources.

Some History

To read a not so short History of Angola, click here.


Colin Campbell first assessed Angola in December of 2003 in ASPO's newsletter 36. Back then it was already clear that the Regular Oil cycle was approaching peak (if not already past it). It was also clear that Deep Water fields were coming strongly on stream promising to more than double the country's production. Using 10 Gb for both Regular Oil and Deep Water ultimates, the best estimate was resulting in a total production peak by 2020 just under 2 Mb/d.

Figure 1 - Colin Campbell's Angola forecast in 2003. Click to enlarge.

Acknowledging the difficulty of estimating the Deep Water cycle shape at such an early stage, Colin Campbell put forward three different scenarios. The first (A) modelled the hypothesis of the country using all productive capacity as soon as it became available, the other two (B and C) considered a different approach in which the resource would be explored in a slower fashion, extending the economic income in time. These last two scenarios resulted in later and lower peaks. Scenario B would be the one chosen for the forecast this time.

Figure 2 - Colin Campbell's Deep Water scenarios for Angola in 2003. Click to enlarge.

Production in Angola would rise steeply, more than doubling from 2003 to 2007. Meanwhile, by the end of 2006 it was announced that Angola was joining OPEC. Without a quota attributed, Colin Campbell would reissue his forecast for Deep Water (newsletter 73), this time preferring scenario A, and extending the previous ultimate to 12 Gb, allowing for a possible later cycle of discovery.

Figure 3 - Colin Campbell's Deep Water forecast for Angola in 2007. Click to enlarge.

And finally in December of 2007 OPEC announced Angola's quota: 1.9 Mb/d. Official reactions were scarce, but at the time, with the country already producing close to that figure, some disappointment was ventilated in the press:

Some oil companies have expressed concern about an OPEC quota potentially putting the brakes on Angola's rising oil prospects.
An Angolan oil official recently said his country would be happy with a quota of 2.5 million barrels a day, a figure which industry analysts say would be about 500,000 barrels a day above real output capacity.

But a few months later Syanga Abílio (Sonangol's vice-president) would assure that the country's policy was in line with the given quota:

"It's possible to reach that production [2 Mb/d] still this year ... this for sure may occur in the last quarter of this year,"
"We are doing our best to maintain our plateau of 2 million barrels, probably until 2014. Our production profile does indicate normal decline (after 2014) which we will be fulfilling with our exploration programme,"

Also countering Colin Campbell's later assessment is the fact that new production capacity coming on stream in 2008, 2009 and 2010 is not enough to fulfil the expected jump from 1.6 Mb/d to 2.7 Mb/d in Deep Water production up to 2010. New projects coming on stream listed by the Oil Megaprojects page and the EIA are in the following table. A chart of Angola's concessions blocks can be found here; only blocks 0 and 14 are in Cabinda's waters.

Table 1 – Oil Megaprojects planned for Angola.

Year Field Peak output (kb/d)
2008 Block 4 Gimboa 50
2008 Block 15 Kizomba C (Mondo) 100
2008 Block 15 Kizomba C (Saxi; Batuque) 100
2009 Block 0 (Area A Mafumeira) 30
2009 Block 14 (Landana; Tombua) 100
2009 Block 14 (Negage) 75
2010 Block 17 (Pazflor) 200
After 2010 Block 31 NE 130
After 2010 Block 31 SE 130
After 2010 Block 18W 100
After 2010 Block 15 (Kizomba D ) 120
Planned Block 17 (Clov ) 150
Planned Block 32 130

In light of the information gathered here, an alternate forecast for Deep Water Oil is used, more in line with Colin Campbell's original B scenario, but this time with an ultimate of 12 Gb. Production is forecast to reach 1.5 Mb/d by late 2009 and from there slowly growing to support a total production (Regular + Deep Water) of 2 Mb/d. This plateau is maintained up to 2016 with Deep Water topping 1.6 Mb/d; at this time depletion sets in at 9% per annum, a characteristic figure for this kind of reservoirs.

Figure 4 – Angola Oil Production forecast. Click to enlarge.

It is likely that with rising oil prices countries like Angola start feeling pressure from consuming countries to increase their production. Hence a quota hike or even an unilateral move to break the 2 Mb/d plateau remain open possibilities. In such case an earlier peak and unfolding decline are to be expected.


Much of the Regular Oil produced in Angola still comes from Cabinda, and in spite of having just two concession blocks in its sea, it is also from here that the lion share of Angola's Deep Water production is coming. Hard figures don't seem to be available but at least two thirds of Angola's present oil output are coming from Cabinda.

Cabinda is a short piece of land north of the Congo River, cut of from the main territory in 1885. Early in the 1960s several independence groups joined to form FLEC. In the summer of 1975 FLEC created a provisional government and declared independence from Portugal. Early in 1976 MPLA (aided by Cuban troops) invaded the territory, gaining control of the territory and pushing FLEC to a guerilla war. FLEC would receive help from UNITA years later, but struggle inside the movement between different idealogical veins would break it apart in several organizations.

In the 1990s with the first peace agreements in Angola's mainland, it became clear that the independence of Cabinda wasn't a priority. FLEC reorganized, with FLEC-Renovada (FLEC-Renewed) congregating the political arm and FLEC-FAC (FLEC-Cabinda Armed Forces) the military, that continued the armed actions. After the death of Jonas Savimbi the Angolan Armed Forces concentrated in Cabinda, dwarfing FLEC's power. FLEC turned into kidnapping actions that cost them much of the already dwindling international support. In 2006 peace was settled between FLEC-Renovada and the MPLA's government, a move that wasn't followed by FLEC-FAC, casting doubts over its legitimacy.

The present situation in Cabinda was assessed by Jeff Vail here. An example of the current restless felt in the territory happened weeks ago when Isaías Samakuva (the present leader of UNITA) visited Cabinda [portuguese]. While discoursing Samakuva referenced peace as a fundamental instrument of development in Angola, the crowd answered claiming “Cabinda is at war!”.

At the moment FLEC-FAC doesn't seem to have visible armed power; actions are sporadic and so far haven't targeted oil facilities. The heavy military presence of Angolan troops (that has fostered the nationalist sentiment among civilians) allied to FLEC-FAC's international isolation makes it unlikely for a more serious situation to develop (e.g. similar to that in Nigeria).

As seen from the megaprojects list above, Cabinda is loosing its importance in Angola's oil production. With elections months way a policy change towards the territory might take place if the political balance in mainland Angola turns more into UNITA's side. But in the end it all comes down to social equity, if the Cabindese people come to feel that Oil exploration is bringing them development and its wealth not ending in Luanda's elites, the situation will likely improve.


Angola's population presently stands at around 17 million and has been growing around 3% yearly. According to the UN's forecast the country is still far from completing its population transition and this growth rate should endure for some decades. By 2020 the country is forecast to have 24 million people and reach 30 million by 2030.

Figure 5 – Angola Population forecast, according to UN's forecast.

Data on Angola's energy consumption is scarce, the only institution keeping record of it seems to be the EIA. The country profiles database indicates very low values, which although cannot be cross check with other datasets, shouldn't be far from the truth.

Figure 6 – Past Angola Oil Consumption per capita.

These are very low numbers, about one fourth of the world's average in 2006. Demand was erratic until 2000, but with the onset of deep water exploration and the country's political stabilization, things started to improve. Although erratic, growth averaged 9% per annum from 2000 to 2005, it was almost 10% in 2006 and about 9% again in 2007. With international companies entering the country's service sector and economic development reaching other regions outside Luanda, this high rate of growth should continue for some time.

The internal oil demand forecast for Angola is as follows: consumption per capita should continue to grow along present lines, until about 2015 when depletion should start being a concern. From then onwards consumption growth per capita starts easing, reaching the world average only after 2020 and stabilizing around 6 b/cap/a by 2030 (a comparable figure with 3.6 b/cap/a today in Namibia and 8.5 b/cap/a in South Africa).

Figure 7 – Angola Oil Consumption per capita forecast.

Combining this forecast with UN's population figures results in a rapid growth of internal demand, topping 200 kb/d before 2020 and approaching 500 kb/d by 2030.

Figure 8 – Angola Oil Consumption forecast.

How likely is this forecast? The main driver of consumption is population growth itself, hence it relies heavily on UN's figures. By 2030 this forecast projects Angola almost doubling its population and becoming one of the wealthiest nations of the region, similar to South Africa today. Such an outcome is indeed possible, Oil is not the only economic activity in Angola, with Diamond extraction and Fisheries already important sectors and Agriculture having considerable potential. The main issue for the country is how to grow in an equitable fashion, an enduring problem in many oil production nations (especially in Africa). Above everything else, social inequity could be the determining factor undermining the foundations of this possible growth.

The Macroscopic View

In spite of the strong consumption growth and declining production forecast, Angola remains as a net oil exporter for many years to come, presenting a surplus up to the end of the period considered.

Figure 9 – Angola Oil Exports forecast. Click to enlarge.

Adding this forecast to the previously assessed countries yields no major changes, except for higher yearly totals. Peak continues to stand in 2005, with a gentle decline forming, that by 2011 starts accelerating.

Figure 10 – World Oil Exports as of June 2008. Click to enlarge.

Previous numbers of WOE:
WOE [00] Introduction

Luís de Sousa
The Oil Drum : Europe

I would doubt that 30% growth in GDP annually is going to be a good thing for this country.

Where did you got that figure? Why would it be bad?

Very top of the article:

Becoming an OPEC member just recently, Angola is set to build one of the strongest economies in Africa, with its GDP growing over 30% annually, the highest rate in the world. Hopefully Oil will be just the trigger of a golden era in a country that possesses other important natural resources.

In my opinion, this growth rate is just plain reckless, and it is doubtful the Angolans, as history has exhibited in many other African countries, will spend that newfound oil money on sustainable economic policies. This new oil money will just fuel internal consumption for food exports and modern goods ect, and result in more and more modern lives that will be born dependent upon fossil fuels for their livelihoods. It is akin to yeast in a jar getting a boost in their growth medium, which will result in an intensification of the overshoot/die-off cycle. In my opinion we should be questioning growth as being something universally good for societies, and seeing it as something that will make us more dependent upon a system relying on increasing complexity and depleting fossil fuels to solve its problems. Increasing complexity, like the transition from horses to cars for transportations requires exponentially more infrastructure to implement and as will some green fantasy to ultra high tech hybrid cars which requires even more infrastructure. Few people seem to think of this background issue which is exponentially increasing dependencies on infrastructure to accomplish our the same simple task which requires exponentially more energy. The net energy cliff is on us in my opinion and a technological fix will further exacerbate our decent, a fundamental change in socialization is what we need similar to what Jeff Vail speaks of. That's why I don't see a 30% growth in GDP based on it's people making it a golden part of Africa, long term, but setting it up for a tremendous amount of difficulties.

Read Joseph Tainter's, The Collapse of Complex Societies, It explains this issue in greater detail


That was a good one. Check the GDP growth rate here. I don't know how the 30% figure ended there.

haha yes, that would mean angolas GDP would double every 2 years, looked kinda funny too me. Thanks

They should get Norwegian advisors. (No, not the oil fund, the intersting part is that they did not let the oil incomes ruin the rest of their economy and invests in long lasting infrastrucure and knowledge. )

They should get non-corrupt politicians and civil servants + working judiciary and police system. Besides, Norwegian Oil & Energy Company Norsk-Hydro of Norway has already been accused of corruption in Angola, so I doubt that advice from would help a lot.

Advice doesn't help, when politicians and oil company figures can get away with corruption routinely. Those guys already have the best advise: embezzle the money, put it in an account of a money laundering bank on Jersey and with the leftovers fund expansions in oil production, so you can steal more the next year.

Angola was at rank 147 out of 179 countries in the Transparency international 2007 Corruption Index rankings. If you think corruption in China is bad, it ranks at 70.

Global Witness wrote a whole report on corruption in Oil & Gas industry (both NOC and IOC) and it's a sad read (2004). CorpWatch also details how Angola oil deals are opaque and often involve shady arms deals that break various laws and regulations.

And as has been written in another thread, it is really difficult to fight corruption, when western banks work in collusion with the corrupt politicians. Banks in Switzerland and Jersey have been guilty of this and the practice continues.

On top of this, western investors are fighting over the rights to pour money into oil investments in Angola, usually caring very little for laws or ethics. The practice is easy, because World Bank has rated Angola as one of the most difficult places to do business, due to rampant cronyism and corruption.

What about the people? 70% of them live in abject absolute poverty (less than $1/day) and the rest who are not corrupt, mostly in very poor conditions. Oil sector is responsible for destroying much of the livelihood of fishermen in Cabinda, one of the poorest provinces.

It has been said many times and tons has been written about it, but let's say it again:

African oil producing nations are very unlikely to get out of poverty, until IOCs clean up their act, foreign banks stop laundering embezzled money, US/Switzerland/China/etc stop selling them arms and everybody imposes strict requirements on the government from the outside (trade/development/etc). It would probably take another 10 years to flush the system even semi-clean, but the lure of black gold is impossible to resist.

Random Wiki tidbits:

The current government has announced an intention to hold elections in 2009. These elections would be the first since 1992 and would serve to elect both a new president and a new National Assembly.

The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa, yet its people are among the continent's poorest.

Many African states have developed this tendency post-colonialism:

The concept of a gatekeeper state was introduced by the African historian Frederick Cooper in his book Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present.

According to Cooper, African governments suffer from a peculiar politico-economic dysfunction that derives from a particular historical sequence. Specifically, he contends "Africa was systematically conquered but not so systematically ruled" (2002: 196-197) and hence "colonial states had been gate-keeper states" (ibid.: 5) which had "trouble extending their power and their command of people’s respect... inward" (ibid.: 156) but could control "the interface of national and world economies" (ibid.: 141). The colonial powers wanted specific things from Africa (e.g. natural resources) and hence had only a limited transformational agenda since extraction could occur in the absence of a strong state. Ultimately, the authority of colonial regimes depended on the superior military forces of the metropole, which could easily defeat organised resistance but could neither routinise authority nor gain legitimacy (ibid.: 157). The survival of each colony therefore depended on external resources and support, not on internal factors like in established states. As a result, colonial governments had weak roots in the African countries nominally under their control and therefore could not really govern the social or cultural realms of their subjects. In turn, this external dependence produced an outward orientation focused on ‘guarding the gate’: colonies collected most of their revenues from taxes on imports and exports, controlled entry and exit visas, distributed foreign aid, decided who could move currency in or out, and issued licenses that determined who could engage in business activities (ibid.: 5, 97, 157).

The post-colonial "successor states," Cooper goes on to argue, inherited the mantle of gate-keeper from their former rulers. Independence, however, greatly exacerbated the negative consequences of gate-keeping because whereas before it was taken for granted who would control the gate (along with the power and wealth derived therefrom), in the post-colonial period there was no external military force to impose order. Furthermore, unlike the colonial powers (at least before the "development era" after about 1940) African rulers wanted to impose their authority internally in order to affect a far-reaching transformation of the economy and society. And given, moreover, that control of the gate was an "either/or phenomenon" (ibid.: 159) or a zero-sum game, the stakes of control were extremely high because the winners gained control of resources they could use to entrench their rule. Consequently fierce competition for control of the gate arose soon after independence, and this resulted in the collectively irrational political instablitity that occurred in Africa after independence as evidenced by, among other things, cycles of coups and counter coups.

Hate to be critical, but the future-prospects part at the end was wanting. I would suggest for TOD to get someone versed in political-economy to maybe contribute a little bit to relevant articles. I could be available (if wanted) maybe the mods could help facilitate the connection with the relevant parties. (provide them with my email, if its not on display--IDK).

I would suggest for TOD to get someone versed in political-economy to maybe contribute a little bit to relevant articles ...

I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘versed in political economy’. I hope you don’t mean to include the pundits who write for ‘The Economist’ and who, some 30 years ago, predicted that Mugabe would bring peace and prosperity to Zimbabwe, or who ten years ago predicted that South Africa would become an ‘African success story’, or who can’t write an essay on any African country without including the expression ‘sliver of hope’.

My hunch is that the more ‘versed’ people are in political economy the more bullshit they are likely to spatter about. If you want to know more about Africa, ask somebody who has lived there.

From ‘The Economist’, 8 May 1980:

Mr Mugabe, unlike most African leaders, is in a position to deliver on his election promises of peace and prosperity. Peace is already delicately at hand; prosperity could rapidly blossom […] If the rate of growth that the economy clocked up before the imposition of sanctions can be restored (and that means keeping the whites confident and investing), the country could soon be one of the richest in black Africa.

No, someone 'versed' would have thought the opposite; I thought that was rather clear.

I am also doubtful of Angola's future prospects. Nigeria demonstrates just how bad things can get when a state becomes highly dependent on natural resource revenue. From a political economy perspective, government dependence on oil revenue can lead to a lot of negative structural impacts, especially in the context of Africa, its history, and current state. Rising oil production engendered much hope and expectation for positive change in Nigeria. None of it panned out.

See also the "resource curse" thesis. In a nutshell: Resource rich countries exhibit a startling trend toward economic underdevelopment. Countries whose economies are largely dependant on the extraction and production of primary resources suffer from domestic strife and conflict, poverty, authoritarian rule, and flaccid economic growth. Resource dependence leads to the "rentier state," in which those in power come to depend on rents from resource extraction rather than taxation, making them less accountable to their people.

Ross, Michael. "The Natural Resource Curse: How Wealth Can Make You Poor." Natural Resources and Violent Conflict: Options and Actions. Ed. Ian Bannon and Paul Collier. Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 2003. 17-42.

Collier, Paul. "Natural Resources, Development and Conflict: Channels of Causation and Policy Interventions." Oxford University and the World Bank (2003).

Sachs, Jeffrey D., and Andrew M. Warner. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth." Center for International Development and Harvard Institute for International Development (1997).

One again, no comments on why any of these theories apply differently to Africa, than say post-colonial Asia. Isn't the Daqing oil field in China, at 16 gigabarrels, larger than any found in sub-saharan africa? Am I the only person that sees a contradiction in statements like: "America was able to dominate the world in the early 20th century because of its ample natural resources, especially oil, of which it had one of the world's largest endowments.", and "Africa is poor because of its ample natural resource, especially oil."

The explanation for that disconnect lies in historical context. The statement that "America was able to dominate the world in the early 20th century because of its ample natural resources, especially oil, of which it had one of the world's largest endowments," isn't incorrect, but its only one piece of the puzzle, there are a lot of other reasons why the US became so dominant in the 20th century. The United States has a very different post-colonial history than say, Nigeria. The US gained independence, and went through massive stages of industrialization, migration, and expansion, all the while being free to exploit the people and natural resources of an nearly an entire continent. American history, especially westward expansion, is characterized by the kind of conflict, strife, and instability that the resource curse thesis attempts to explain. One could frame it as the resource-poor original 13 colonies dominating the resource rich interior. History is full of examples like this, such as 19th - early 20th century Japan, and the Netherlands in the 17th century. The United States never suffered from a resource curse, however Native Americans did. Africa's colonial and post-colonial history is a completely different story, as is Asia's. The resource curse thesis doesn't apply differently to America, Africa or Asia. It's really an observable phenomenon, you just need to go a little deeper to see how it plays out in the real world.

Natural Resources and Violent Conflict: Options and Actions. Ed. Ian Bannon and Paul Collier. Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 2003.

Thanks for posting the link, I'd used a few articles from that for a research paper awhile ago. Some good stuff in there.

Don't we all hope that this one country, Angola with its rich supply of natural resources, oil, can somehow be a shining star on a continent that seems to have nothing but trouble. Is it possible for an African country to build an infrastructure equal to the developed world? Can their people live in prosperity and share its natural wealth across all socio-economic levels? No, but its a nice dream isn't it? Angola, the shining star of Africa...

The days of Colonial rule were it's golden days. The African people have neither the will nor sense to govern themselves. We gave them Education, Military, Social, and political education yet once we left the continent decended back into the quagmire it is now.

The Continent should be one of the most rich and prosperous on the planet due to it's geological wealth, and it's potential to be a world tourist destination is, i think, immense. Unfortunately the people cannot see past their tribalism.

Getting on topic though, maybe, just maybe Angola can set an example in how to effictively use it's new wealth to drag itself out of the dark ages.

Sadly accepted,


Above should be deleted for racism.

The comment is not in any way racist.

Then you must be completely unaware of that whole colonialism bit; and probably shouldn't post amidst such ignorance.

I am well aware. Howevever they should have continued our legacy in the 4 disciplines mentioned above, after independence.

Read my long comment above.

OK I read it and I agree that the effects of collonialism created a starnge economic, political and social rule that (because it only needed to be satble enough to allow extraction of resource during colonial rule) was doomed to failure - thats what i understand from the text.

However this does not invalidate my initial statement that they have neither the will nor sense to change. And neither does it mean that the four things we gave them were necassarily bad for them at the time. We just did not give them a complete set of values/systems by which to run a continent.


Well, we will never know what could have been, fact is, any bonafide development post-colonialism first has to address the thus accrued contradictions.

"We gave them Education, Military, Social, and political education"

This isn't saying much. I'm not so sure 'we' gave them an education. 'We' did, however, give them any and all military aid they wanted; I don't know about you, but I see this as counter-productive. Social/Political education? Really? Come on? Where are these universities? I believe a great many African dictators were given the finest Western education money could buy, not that it ever did their country any good.

The continents' problems are only perpetuated by these legacy politico-economic conditions, which are in turn, symbiotic with the most important of all: brain drain.

The Portuguese, just like all the other Europeans, were there to thieve anything which was not nailed down, not to impart any values except such as were advantageous to their imperial policy.

I agree. The comment above from Marco is ignorant and wrong.

What is your point? It could be argued that no country exercises it's foreign policy to benefit another nation other than itself. Aid programmes for example only ever amount to a tiny fraction of a % of total GDP of a donating country so it could be argued that this is no more than showing political face.

You are correct in that their reasons were ultimately selfish but has that changed today?


I've never understood how Africa gets a total pass on everything because 50 years ago they were colonized. How is it the Asian countries were able to overcome their colonial baggage so quickly. Are you suggesting that the French in vietnam were somehow not extractive occupiers, or where loved by the vietnamese. How about the British in China (see Opium wars). It's also interesting that to blame the African peoples or government in any way for their lack of development/infrastructure is to be immediately equated with racists. But I guess 5o yrs isn't so bad, blacks in America have been hiding behind slavery for their lack of performance for 3 times that long. Here's to improvment in the 22nd century...

But I guess 5o yrs isn't so bad, blacks in America have been hiding behind slavery for their lack of performance for 3 times that long. Here's to improvment in the 22nd century...

I do hope that the moderators of this site flag this post and permanently ban you from posting here. You sir are a blatant racist of the most vile kind. The only improvement people like you can provide is when you choke to death on your own bile.

Magyar, congratulations, your statement proves my point that anyone who doesn't drink your version of the cool-aid must be a racist fit only for death. I never thought about it, but I guess the underperformance of Spain versus Britain economically over the last 500 years could in fact be due to their longer and more brutal experience with colonization under the Romans 2000 years ago. Wow, I stand corrected, colonialism explains everything. I wonder if it's too late for Spain to petition the EU for reparations from Italy. Quick, call the thought police before I speak again. I will not stoop to your level, and will refrain, sir, from labeling you a blatant fascist.

"I will not sit in a group of black friends and hear racial pejoratives against whites. I will not hear "honky." I will not hear "Jap." I will not hear "kike." I will not hear "greaser." I will not hear "dago." I will not hear it. As soon as I hear it, I say, "Excuse me, I have to leave. Sorry." Or if it's in my home, I say, "You have to leave. I can't have that. That is poison, and I know it is poison, and you're smearing it on me. I will not have it." Now, it's not an easy thing. And one doesn't all of a sudden sort of blossom into somebody who's courageous enough to say that. But you do start little by little. And you sit in a room, and somebody says -- if you're all white, and somebody says, "Well, the niggers -- " You may not have the courage right then, but you say, "Whooh! My goodness! It's already eight o'clock. I have to go," and leave. Little by little, you develop courage. You sit in a room, and somebody says, "Well, you know what the Japs did then, and what they're doing now." Say, "Mm-hmm! I have to go. My goodness! It's already six o'clock." Leave. Continue to build the courage. Sooner or later, you'll be able to say out loud, "Just a minute. I defend that person. I will not have gay bashing, lesbian bashing. Not in my company. I will not do it." Maya Angelou

Nor sir will I! I also find rather sad that so few of the people here reading you comment are not as outraged as am I. So let me say it loud and clear in your face YOU ARE A RACIST!

Get some grip. I didn't see any racism in his comments, only a diatribe about african leadership incompetence. And except his starting phrase The days of Colonial rule were it's golden days. which wasn't very bright, though I do understand what he means, he's not that far off. Angola's leaders are corrupt to the core, and the elites are willing to cope with it because they are getting richer. The poor will remain poor and uneducated because no one cares about them. Fact remains: Angola's houses range from the richest of the world to the poorest of the world, and they don't seem to give a damn.

It doesn't require one to have a racist mind that such path isn't going to take them very far away.

Perhaps one has to live in the United States to think this is a racist statement then? Maybe it is you who needs to get a more broad perspective. Trust me when I tell you this is about as racist as it gets. In the US you would not be able to say this and not get slammed for it. He isn't talking about Angola and as someone who was raised in Brazil I have a very good understanding of third world corruption and elitism. This is not about that, I quote the statement that has me in an uproar, again!

But I guess 5o yrs isn't so bad, blacks in America have been hiding behind slavery for their lack of performance for 3 times that long.

Maybe your comprehension of the Anglo Saxon vernacular and the cultural nuances of the American variety are somewhat lacking. What part of this statement do you not understand or do not consider racist? Please do elucidate as to how that is not a racist statement.


Fly away little bird. Back to your gilded cage were the ills of the world are all caused by the white man, or the Americans, or the "West", and anyone who dares say otherwise is a racist or worse. What a wonderful opiate, to not be accountable for the outcomes of one's life, or the leaders you embrace, because there will always be someone else left to blame that must be pulling the strings somewhere. Your type of thinking has worked wonders in Zim. where the Anglos are (almost) all gone, yet the people somehow still starve. Perhaps you are an adviser to Bush, as I see echoes in his talk of evil speculators who are at the root of the nation's ills, not poor decisions made by him, or his cronies, or the people who ignorantly elected him. Such an easy and slick answer, requiring no further analysis. Nowhere have I accused anyone of being genetically inferior, though I personally believe some cultures and the social mores they espouse can, in fact, be viewed as objectively inferior to others based on real outcomes--though I realize this is debatable by many. Many people today have put foward interesting, intellectually stimulating theories, that I hope to look into more deeply. But all I've seen from you today is the same "Racist, racist", in every post. I hope there is more intellectual depth than this that you have simply chosen not to reveal. I will be ignoring any further replies, as this has strayed pretty far from an energy context, but wish you the best post-crash.

I do not find the calls of banning for racism useful here. I am uncomfortable with negative generalisms about groups of people because I feel they work to divide us when we need to be supporting each other. This is particularly true when they are presented without any direct evidence.

However, I often note such generalizations on this site about broad swaths of United States society equally without direct evidence. The reaction to these statements is much less than that demonstrated here. Whatever standards are chosen should be applied equally.

Barring vitriolic diatribe, I suggest that a deeper exploration of this issues is the way to handle this (as the conversation on colonialism has done).

I do not find the calls of banning for racism useful here.

I wonder if you would care to explain why not?

Isn't it uncanny that wherever there is plentiful petroleum resources discovered there always seems to be some kind of civil war or 'religious' xenophobic violence that takes the lives of untold thousands; conditions that did not exist in said particular area until oil discoveries?
For the past decade Angola has to be considered one of the most dangerous geographical locations in Africa.
Surely this cannot be blamed solely on the autochthonous people.

We gave them Education, Military, Social, and political education

Who are you?

"WE" is the collective term for the group of develop(ed)ing industrialised nations that imposed colonial rule on Africa. That includes the French oh Sir Luis.

But does it really matter who I am? Well, I am Roman by blood, British by nationality and no stranger to rule of Empire!!!


I fail to see what the French have to do with Congo.

What my folk brought to Africa was mostly war. Black folks were refered to as "men without souls" and were traded as commodities; even after slavery was abolished they weren't treated like real people.

I invite you to read the not so short History of Angola. You'll see there that the colonization started long before the industrial revolution.

You'll see there that the colonization started long before the industrial revolution.

Not a mistake I used the era very loosely. Ever read Shogun (James Clavell) by any chance?


I watched the TV series.

The days of Colonial rule were it's golden days. The African people have neither the will nor sense to govern themselves. We gave them Education, Military, Social, and political education yet once we left the continent decended back into the quagmire it is now.

You really believe that? This kind of ignorant arrogant remark just never ceases to amaze me.
As a Brazilian I can assure you for example that being a colony of Portugal was not that country's golden age. All Colonial rule is, was and always has been exploitative and has never been intended to help the native people. It most certainly wasn't any different in Angola. Maybe they can turn the tables and Colonize Portugal and give people like you an education too.

See my earlier comments.

Need I remind you that the United States also suffered under the cruel yoke of colonialism, longer I believe than many 3rd world countries. Perhaps we should excuse their behavior on the world stage today as the residual scars from suffering under the oppresion of a foreign power for all those years. And of course, we could never have expected them to rise economically, what with all the post-revolutionary interventions by hostile Western powers (Washington DC sacked and burned during the War of 1812 jumping immediately to mind).

Interesting comment.

Have you educated yourself on "resource curse", "dutch disease", corruption by western International Oil Companies, corruption by African elected officials, money laundering by western banks, African countries that are developing (without rich natural resources), geo-strategic importance of oil rich part of Africa for US & China, and corruption by western politicians in Africa.

I would hazard a wild guess, that after educating yourself on these matters, you'd be less inclined to put all the blame on the African people for their plight.

It's not as if the African corrupt leaders are without blame, but in most cases they've been put in power and and amply supported by the west.

It is difficult then to blame the 90% of the people who have no access to money, education, news, political system and as such very little power in changing the system.

We the OECD citizens who clearly live in glass houses shouldn't be so eager to throw stones at others.

It's not as if the African corrupt leaders are without blame, but in most cases they've been put in power and and amply supported by the west.


Good, now we are getting somewhere - you are the first person in this thread to get to the heart of the matter. After reading books like "confessions of an economic hitman" I am well aware of the subjects you list above.

So they have not the will or sense to affect (do not confuse with word effect) revolution, which leads me back to my original point that is they are not capable of pulling themselves out of this quagmire.

Please do not assume that because I have not spilled my entitre life knowlegde onto these pages that I am therfore ignorant of a subject.


Fair enough. Your position becomes now more understandable. My apologies if you were offended, that was not my intention.

It is an obvious statement that resource rich African countries have been unable to pull themselves out of worsening spiral of poverty, corruption and environmental destruction.

That is a fact.

Now, however comes the interesting part:

1) Are they themselves to be blamed for it?

You say:

have neither the will nor sense to govern themselves.

Unfortunately the people cannot see past their tribalism.

That is an opinion. Please provide some references to support your argument, like I did. Otherwise it remains what is is: an opinion.

Let us not forget that there is ample proof (search my links in this thread) that the corruption, oppression and environmental destruction is being actively managed and supported by those who have the power, money and the military. Should we then put the blame on the 90% of the population who live in poverty with no means?

Surely it is easy to put the part of the blame on the corrupt officials and the western accomplices. They are trying to keep the system as it is: corrupt, inefficient, crony, bureaucratic, and without proper legal framework. The motive for this can be many (greed, tribalism, human nature, whatnot). On the motives we don't have 'facts'.

Then it becomes a question of moral judgment whether we can additionally blame people who are scraping just enough to survive for this or not. People with no education, no access to honest media, and no access to fair elections.

Yes, I also believe decide on their own fate, but any attempts at improvement can be easily destroyed by others. This has already been shown in Nigeria. Progressive peaceful activism (i.e. the democratic way) got them nowhere, except on the gallows.

2) What could be done about it?

The current way is not working. Past decades of 'attempts' have proven this.

What's the alternative?

Everybody starts acting good and civil?

Fat chance, I'm afraid.

So, regardless of who is right or wrong, who is to blame or not, I see very little to be optimistic about the future of Sub-Saharan oil rich African nations, if things continue in their current ways.

Unless we try some alternative approach, which I've already linked to in my other posts here (Stiglitz, Shaxson).

African nations cannot do this in isolation, because they do not function in isolation. So, everybody needs to clean up their act, including western corporations and governments.

Then, at the very earliest, can we judge if the countries who've failed so far have a 'will and the sense' to govern themselves.

I believe they have, and proof is in the non-resource rich sub-Saharan countries who have fared much better.

Very interesting samu. Thankyou.

As to your question to me for refrencese/evidence;

If I can ask you to google "africa" and "tribalism" there are so many studies, opinions, books,journals on the subject that I wouldn't know where to begin giving refrences. Thats not an excuse by the way!

My first statement is more MY opinion based on the point that there is still inherant tribalism - division if you will - so that would remove the will to unite. Sense should tell them that for the greater good they must unite and move away from their current society.

At the end of the day though I come to the same conclusion you do.


If you want to talk about tribalism and division check out the Berlin Conference.

This conference left behind a fairly chaotic geographic legacy with little organizing rational beyond economic expediency and the hierarchy of power within the European international system at the time. Many post-colonial states therefore include various ethnic/cultural/religious/linguistic groups that share little in common. Dominant factions often use the state apparatus to further their own interests. Colonialism left behind a system of fragile and often artificial states. Considering this environment it should be easy to understand how systemic and structural factors through history have led to underdevelopment and conflict in Africa.

I have been in Luanda in 2004, when the boom started. Sorry, but I don't think a bright star has descended on Angola. The ones running the country and the elements from outside, will make sure that the Bright Star shines in Geneva instead.

You are spot on. the IOC's could not give a s**t waht happens to the country as long as they get their oil and nice wee vault in Swittzerland gets full. Sad but true and you only have to look at nigeria as an example.


MARCO=me am racist crud, ok?


MARCO = realist who sees things how they are. I find the hardship in Africa quite distressing actually. ok? you undestand?


MARCO = racist who sees things how he wants to see them, without any reference to the facts.

Paraphrasing racist marco: "we did all these wonderful things for the africans when we ran the place, but since we let them run things, look how hopeless they are!"

life must be so simple if you are a racist simpleton!


Whatever happened to the Commission for Africa?

Part 2 Section 4.4.1 Natural resources revenue management: the extractive industries
is particularly relevant.

I think these export analyses are terrific; thanks for your work.

A question: Does domestic refining capacity need to be a factor in the analysis?

The reason I ask is because I have read that there are crude oil exporting nations that import refined petroleum for domestic consumption due to a lack of refining capacity. A hypothetical country with zero refining capacity would therefore actually put 100% of its crude on the world market and would be purchasing refined petroleum on the world market. A country with some, but not enough, refining capacity would export more crude than the (Production - Consumption) = (Exports) equation would indicate.

Also, a poorer country in such a situation might have growth of domestic energy consumption constrained by the price of refined petroleum on the world market.

Net Oil Exports = Production - Consumption

Assume that we have Production Land and Refinery Land, and ignore refinery gains. Production Land and Refinery Land each consume one mbpd of refined product. Production Land produces two mbpd of crude oil and exports all of the crude to Refinery Land. Refinery Land exports one mbpd of refined product back to Production Land, consuming the other one mbpd locally.

So, the gross crude exports from Production Land are two mbpd, and the gross crude imports into Refinery Land are two mbpd.

Net oil exports for Production Land = two mbpd - one mbpd = one mbpd

Net oil imports for Refinery Land = 0 production - one mbpd (consumption) = one mbpd

BTW, the premiere example of rising consumption is Saudi Arabia. The following graph was in response to a 2006 assertion by the Economist Magazine that Saudi Arabia could produce at their current rate for 70 years without ever finding another drop of oil. I disagree, but what I found interesting was that they totally ignored domestic consumption. So, Khebab generated a graph showing a flat total liquids production rate of 11 mbpd, with consumption rising at +5.7%/year. You can see what happens to net oil exports. Incidentally, the EIA has revised Saudi consumption up to +7.2%/year, which would cause a doubling in consumption every 10 years at this rate: 4 mbpd in 2015, 8 mbpd n 2025, 16 mbpd in 2035, etc.

So, it isn't less expensive to consume your own refined petroleum than to purchase refined petroleum on the world market (broadly speaking)?

I guess refining petroleum domestically has an opportunity cost: reduced sales of crude on the world market.

Saudi Arabia and I believe Russia are expanding their refining capacity.

You're linked on SeekingAlpha for July 1.

The chart above is the average utilization of refineries in June. Average refinery utilization is at the lowest it has been since the Energy Information Administration began providing statistics. Now, utilization could be down because demand for gasoline is down, or it could be down because refiners' profit margins are tight and refiners are choosing to produce less gasoline. As Zigler pointed out, refiners' profit margins do tend to shrink right about now. But the lack of oil hitting the market is simply a fact. Despite all the talk, nearly every oil-exporting country is exporting less every year. Tanker shortages? OPEC ineffectiveness? It's all connected.

Maybe the balloon is the wrong metaphor for the summer of 2008. Unraveling oil prices may be more like upsetting a row of dominos - one thing affects another, until everything is lying in chaos. Either way you picture it, the picture is disheartening.

The bolded refers to a link to TOD.

As Jeff wrote above this kind of analysis look into net exports, the difference between volume extracted and volume consumed.

Domestic refining capacity can be a problem if there's a worldwide refining bottleneck; in such case imported products could have prohibitive prices. But remember that even in this situation the exporting countries have the upper hand on the market, they can set refined product quotas as payment for their crude or simply build their own refineries.

Some of the comments here about Angola, African political and social culture, and even a swipe at American Blacks, are very stereotypical, predujiced and bordering on rascism.

On a fundamental level I think Westerners have a strong tendancy to grossly underestimate the effects on Africa of centuries of colonialism and specifically the wrenching and disruptive effects of slavery. Both in Africa, but also in the Americas.

But this is a massively complex subject to get into here, so I won't. Though I believe when dealing with subject of such complexity and scale, one should refrain from making rash, superficial generalizations, especially in relation to what one perceives to be African culture.

I suggested to a Nigerian friend of mine that we might see a "Reverse Peace Corps" program--with African farmers coming to the US to show Americans how to implement small scale sustainable farming practices.

I’m don’t know much about the internal political structure of Angola. Perhaps those here can share some specifics. A viable model for Angolan development might be seen just to the north in Equatorial Guinea. I can offer some insight from my own experiences. Last year I was involved in drilling several wells off the coast of EG. In fact, my drill ship moved to Angola after our last well. Don't feel bad if EG isn't at all familiar to isn't to most. It's a very small island nation off the eastern coast of Nigeria. A population of only 500,000. A Spanish colony until the 80's. Oil wasn't discovered there until the late 90's. Currently ruled by a dictator who took control after killing his uncle, the first dictator after liberation.

I don't have the numbers at hand but I would guess current oil revenue exceeds $80 billion per year. With their small population they are technically one of the richest per capita in the world. Yet 99% of the population lives in extreme poverty. One of the great shortages is protein...odd you might think for an island nation. But the ruler destroyed the local fishing fleet after a failed invasion by mercenaries in 2002 (led by Margaret Thatcher's son). The ruler was concerned that another invasion might use the fleet to infiltrate.

I think we have to take any GDP numbers as an indication of true internal economic growth with a big grain of salt and understand how much they are influenced by oil export. I doubt true internal development of the economy is making any significant gains. As far as internal fuel consumption goes this number can also be misleading. The oil sector utilizes a great deal of the volume and much (if not the great majority) of consumption growth could be attributed to it.

The field I drilled sits right off Bioko, the island capital of EG, in clear sight of the population. In addition to watching tankers carry off their oil to Europe weekly they also watch the burning of 20 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. This is the associated NG produced with the oil. The operator offered to lay a pipeline and transport the gas to the mainland at its own expense but the dictator rejected the offer. He didn't want to spend the money for a local distribution system. Today people still carry pots of drinking water filled at the local well taps on their heads.

This is an example of just one little spot on the globe that few know of and even fewer appreciate their contribution to our endless thirst. Though the risk can’t be quantified we should consider the potential for supply disruptions as a result of popular rebellion. Who would condemn the EG people for seizing control of their wealth and utilizing their oil reserves to develop their own economy? Makes the fight against "taxation without representation" seem somewhat trivial compared to being starved to death. Besides the local motivation there are many in the world who would be glad to foster such strife to satisfy their desire to punish the developed economies.

I’ll not be working in EG again. The money was great but the time spent in country was just too depressing/infuriating. Fortunately for me there are other venues to draw a paycheck.

Developed Countries have worked this "two fer" deal for a long time and on many continents.

Get the resources and create demand destruction too.

Seems we all have sooooo much to be proud of.

But then I guess it's probably the peoples fault for just standing by and letting it happen, right?

Well, I was just reading this about Equatorial Guinea.

I dare anyone to spend a day in Luanda to SEE for themselves how Angola is being managed. Those government "officials" near the bay are doing GREAT. The poor people only 15 minutes away from the center are in Dante's Infernal. I saw it and experienced it. Afterwards my company refused to allow us to go out without security.

According to Wiki

"The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa, yet its people are among the continent's poorest. According to the International Monetary Fund, more than $4 billion in oil receipts have disappeared from Angola's treasury in the 2000s. In August 2006, a peace deal was signed with separatist rebels from the Cabinda exclave in the North. About 65% of Angola's oil comes from that region."

This has nothing to do with perceptions or prejudices, this is the reality of Angola. Top 10 most corrupt country according to Transparency International.

Yes, but the corruption and environmental destruction is done by who?

Chevron Texaco, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, BP, Shell, Elf, etc.

They've all been indicated with corrupt practices in oil rich Africa, and it probably still continues to this day as corruption within governments is rife.

It's very easy to put all the blame on the receiving end of corruption, but I think the giving party should also carry some of the responsibility.

Not to mention all the Western banks who actually launder the corrupt money, even when they are fully aware that is has been stolen from the governments of Africa by their corrupt leaders:

Lloyds TSB, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Citibank, ...

Let's remember one thing: in most oil rich poor countries of Africa c. 70-90% of the people do not have access to proper nutrition, basic income, primary education, health care, independent media or working law enforcement / judiciary system.

It is neither accurate nor constructive to go on blaming poor, oppressed and non-educated people for the fact that their non-democratically 'elected' officials are corrupt and that the people are not doing anything about it. Most are busy enough trying to survive.


You're exactly right about the big corps aiding the corrupt governments by supply the income which allows them to control the populace. And it's good to remember that this practice won't stop until the owners of ExxonMobil et al decide they want the companies to change their policies dealing with these governments. And it's good to remember that the majority owners of ExxonMobil et al are the pension funds of most of the major unions and corporations in the US. And it's good to remember how we Americans value satisfying our needs compared to justice in the third world.

Not a very pretty picture. Thank goodness most Americans have learned to look the other way.

And we come right back to Marco's (badly misinterpreted) original statement - the people of Angola are NOT CAPABLE of changing the system. There are two key drivers there. The first is pure poverty, which reduces anyone to subsistence living. The second is exploitation of existing political divisions (aka tribalism in this case), which is most assuredly being exploited by others to ensure that those same poor people remain as divided as possible.

Any claim that things might be different if they had wealth, education, etc., is specious bullshit precisely because they do not have those things. And this is not an attack on those people though as much as it is an indictment of the neo-colonialists who exploit them. This is precisely how the neo-colonialists work - reducing the target population to the poorest status possible and ensuring that there remain political divisions of some sort to exploit thus precluding unity against their oppressors. If half of you opened your eyes, you would see the same pattern at work elsewhere.

This pattern has worked for the wealthy and powerful for a number of centuries now. Why should they change it? Why not just disguise it under a different umbrella while we do the same thing to others who are too blind to realize the method is being applied to them as well?

Excellent series Luis. While it seems that the simmering discontent in Cabinda isn't presently threatening Angola's oil production, I thin it's worth repeating a point I raised earlier: sometimes the motivation to carry out attacks doesn't become apparent until the capability to carry out attacks exists. With MEND's recent attack on the Bonga facility, 120km offshore in Nigeria, militants in Cabinda may be emboldened to try the same thing, though there is no confirmation of this that I'm aware of.

I think it's also interesting that Henry Okah, the MEND leader currently imprisoned in Nigeria, was extradited there from Angola after being detained in Angola on "gun running" charges. Pure speculation, but that suggests the opportunity for cross-communication between Nigerian militants and FLEC.

I would be interested on your take on the leak from the Pentagon regarding Israel & Iran. The link is posted at the top of the Drumbeat thread.

I think this is another example of concerned personnel within the Pentagon leaking information to to front-load the discussion. One reason why Bush was able to get away with pushing the invasion of Iraq on such shaky facts is that enough insiders didn't leak their concerns until it was too late, and therefore there wasn't enough time for an effective opposition to form before the invasion. Here (and, I think, with the prior "unauthorized" statements from the intelligence community about Iran's nuclear program that Cheney later rejected) I think the hope is that getting these concerns out in the open now will at least force more debate, and therefore more transparency, before any action.

I'm not very convinced that this tactic will work--I don't think the US has the ability to stop Israel from acting in what they perceive as their own self interest. They have a long history of taking those steps they see as necessary, and the consequences be damned. Even IF these kinds of leaks force the current administration to publicly pressure Israel against striking Iran, I think they will make clear, either through back channels, or by not taking any serious steps to prevent, that they are actually behind the strike. I'm planning a series of posts on Iran in the near future, one of which will look at Israel's capability to conduct such a strike...

I think I'll remain incredulous until the first strike by FLEC-FAC on some oil facility.

Cabinda has some socio-economic differences to Nigeria. For starters, population in Cabinda is 300 thousand while in Nigeria is 180 million. This numbers make relatively easy for Angola to secure the territory.

But in fact the civil unrest has been climbing in tone during the last few months, so we should not be surprised if something makes the headlines one of these days. I just feel that the people of Cabinda, although raging, are too tired of war.

I want to point out some other data from the World Fact Book.

Something like half unemployment.
Fertility rate of over 6 children per women.
Depressing low literacy rate, epically among women (about half).
3.9% AIDS/HIV rate, and probably more by now.
Life expectancy of 38 years.
85% of GDP from oil.

Sudden breakneck modernization is the worst thing that could happen to this country. When you come down to it, this is a nation of children, and a perfect example of the demographic traps ahead for many nations.

I'm not sure if it's physically possible for a place like this to educate their masses of basically, poor, neglected children. One way or the other, it's not going to happen. There aren't jobs for the adults right now.

So yeah... doesn't look that bright. 20 more years of plentiful oil will let them make matters even worse I guess.

Thanks, theanphibian.

When you come down to it, this is a nation of children, and a perfect example of the demographic traps ahead for many nations.

In particular, it’s a nation of male children. Gunnar Heinsohn is the man to read:

[Gunnar Heinsohn] is known most widely for his theory of the Youth Bulge. He argues that an excess in especially young adult male population predictably leads to social unrest, war and terrorism, as the "third and fourth sons" that find no prestigious positions in their existing societies rationalize their impetus to compete by religion or political ideology. Heinsohn claims that most historical periods of social unrest lacking external triggers (such as rapid climatic changes or other catastrophic changes of the environment) and most genocides can be readily explained as a result of a built up youth bulge, including European colonialism, 20th century Fascism, and ongoing conflicts such as that in Darfur The Palestinian uprisings in 1987-1993 and 2000 to present, and terrorism.

Angola’s future will be like its present, only worse.

That is a very interesting theory, and seems pretty plausible. Will have to give it a read.

Great addition to the commentary here.

However, I differ with you on one point. I don't think the youth bulge is a particular male phenomenon. Don't get me wrong, I think the young males of the country will be the source of most of their problems, but the demographic is not strongly shifted towards males.

They report a sex ratio of 1.05 boys to girls. That sounds off, but it's actually *relatively* biologically consistent. In developed nations the number is reported to be 1.03. It's a proven fact that this differs by country/ethnic group, but at the same time, infantcide is by it's very nature covered up, so it's unreliable to say 1.05 m-to-f ratio proves infantcide isn't regularly practiced, but either way it makes up a small portion.

Even more interesting is infant mortality from the factbook:

male: 194.38 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 169.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

Apparently the baby girls are a little more resilient for some reason, though I expect almost all of the differences are due to cultural factors. If you started with 1-to-1, this infant mortality rate would give a final ratio of 0.97 m-to-f. Odd isn't it?

A possible explanation is assume the biological ratio is 1.03 (still a number prone to error), and assume some girls are intentionally killed (because the family wanted a boy?) and not reported. Then you could estimate the prevalence.

This analysis is applicable to most any country. I make a big deal of it here because I think people all too often take sex ratio for something that it isn't. Having a demographic shifted strongly towards men would create problems, but this is a phenomenon rarely seen in the world.

Almost all of the time problems are instead created by having an artificially large fraction of the power in society held by men. This can be shown to be the case for Angola by multiple metrics. Literacy:

male: 82.9%
female: 54.2% (2006 est.)

And with 6.2 children per women, it's fairly easy to see who's making the decisions in the country. Equally distributed power among the sexes is a key ingredient for a stable society. The case for this is easy to make; if it was the woman's choice, she wouldn't have had 6 kids, it's much easier to decide on 6 versus 2 kids when you're not the one who has to give birth!

This is why I think missions directed towards educating women in countries like this is a very good thing. The female literacy rate is shocking low and promises to increase volatility and continue damaging trends.

If I were charged with doing missionary work in Angola, I wouldn't know where to start.

Almost all of the time problems are instead created by having an artificially large fraction of the power in society held by men.

Males have had a 'large fraction of the power' in all societies for which records exist. Only in fiction have women ever run the show in the extrafamilial domain ('The Amazons')

The book to read is Steven Goldberg's 'Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance':

From the Product Description:

The first edition of this book was lavishly praised by many authorities as the most formidable demonstration of an unpopular truth: males rule in all societies known to history or anthropology, for reasons arising from innate physiology, a brute fact that can never be conjured away by tinkering with social institutions. This new edition has been completely rewritten in the light of two decades of scholarship and debate, taking account of all published criticisms of earlier editions.

Organizationally, administratively, and financially it's perfectly true to say men have the majority of the power, as examples are trivial (just take any legislative body). But for at least young people in developed nations right now, the differences are almost entirely natural specialization due to personal choice.

In the United States, there are more women attending college than men. I think this forms a very useful analogy to Angola, as women are actually more educated than men. To a degree I agree with that book you mention, but it takes a BIG grain of salt. In terms of reproductive and family decisions, I'd say that in the developed world, those are mostly in the hands of women.

It's doubtfully to our benefit that men decide almost exclusively where the last bits of oil out there go ;)

Does anyone have abstracts of assays for the crudes produced by Angola? Or a breakdown of crude production by quality?

Here's a link to some details on Angolan crude quality:

Also, an interesting update regarding Chinese activities in Angola:

Angola passed Saudi Arabia to become China's top oil supplier in February, according to Petromatrix, a Swiss risk-management firm.
Angola shipped 456,000 barrels a day to China in the first two months of the year, Petromatrix said. That is 15 percent of China's imports and more than what Saudi Arabia and Iran, the top two exporters in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, supplied. The Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea in West Africa are among China's 10 largest oil sources.

China's trade with Africa has tripled since 2002 as it seeks oil and other resources. China Petroleum & Chemical, or Sinopec, agreed last week to help build a $3 billion refinery in Angola. In January, Cnooc agreed to pay $2.27 billion for a stake in a Nigerian oil field.
"Angola and other African countries are attractive to China because they're ramping up production and their crudes are pretty good quality," said Tony Regan, director at the energy adviser Tri-Zen in Singapore. "Angola is a new, big and serious player."

Thank you so much Rockman--very helpful for me to sort out my thinking.

In case you don't know already, China has an official--on the record--strategy of engaging Africa most specifically. It is a keystone of their foreign policy and is obviously mostly resource-driven.

On the other hand, if I remember correctly, there are often big variations in which country is the big exporter to China. For example, in 2006, if I remember correctly, Iran was for a few months by far the largest exporter to China. (Their oil industry is tied directly to the Chinese military and for a while in the 80s I understand that oil was exchanged for military technology / hardware.)

Given that Angolan oil is mostly sweet, medium to light, that is exactly the grade that is tightest just now. All other concerns aside, and given that a lot of new sophisticated refining capacity is coming on line in the next 1-5 years, Angolan production will likely make a considerable difference in price (even if you don't exactly buy the theory that light sweet oil has an elasticity of -0.04.)


I’m wondering how much effect Angola’s (as well as other countries) new production will have on pricing. I haven’t been able to quantify it to any usable degree but China has been tying up reserves in the ground all over the world. They are not just buying Angolan production but actually buying portions of fields as well as investing billions in other capital projects. At a minimum China’s share of production will never reach the market…it will be taken “in kind”. Likewise, they have been investing in Venezuelan fields for many years as well as picking up long term supply contracts from Hugo.

I’ve asked the smarties at TOD to see if they can breakout this factor in their projection of “mega projects” coming online in the future. This approach is nothing new. Back in the 70’s I worked with a natural gas pipeline company that was also investing in drilling. A key point of the trade was the “gas call”: the right to buy the produced gas at some indexed price. The pipeline made more money transporting and re-selling the NG then they did from the drilling investment. They would invest in drilling projects at a premium markup to assure they would have the throughput for the pipeline. I see the Chinese investments as the same angle. Again, I haven’t been able to even guess at the potential volume China is tying up but if it’s substantial they could effectively hold a position more similar to an OPEC producer than a consumer.


I did a report on the Chinese African policy a few years ago and though they are taking a piece of the production, I don't think the numbers will add up to quite that much. They are comfortable investing in "problem areas" like the Sudan and because of that they get better deals than is typical, however. Venezuela is an interesting political investment and, given Chavez's interest in diversifying away from the United States, their investments are probably fairly safe. But I understand that--press to the contrary aside--the oil that was supposed to go to Chalmette was offered to the Chinese, the Chinese said they would pay at a $30-35 discount, and the oil ended up going to traders who sold it to Exxon.

I understand that Japan is probably better suited to take Venezuelan production anyways, given the relative sophistication of their refineries. It has been suggested that they try to enter Venezuela as a player as part of their energy policy, but for whatever reasons, they appear to remain leery of the idea.

The other Asian tigers are beginning to compete for worldwide concessions and especially in Africa as well. It is presently official state energy policy in South Koreaand Japan to expand their overseas holdings substantially ... I don't think India has specific target numbers, but they are competing as well ... which will make for some competition for China though it's probably gonna be a political decision to some degree on the part of the holders.

In any case, it's not just oil that China is investing in in Africa, but infrastructure projects and, if I remember correctly, agricultural projects. They are making a major play to be a serious influence on the continent as a whole, it appears.

Breaking out production that is already taken sounds like it would be very helpful to me. Breaking it down by quality, too. The 86 mb/d isn't really fungible considered as a whole. The Gulf Center just renewed the call for a real market for Arabian Heavy:


Is your report published anywhere? Sounds like a good read.

I'm sure the Chinese are ready to flip at a moments notice if there's a buck to be made. And I'm not sure there are any refineries out side the Gulf coast that can/want to handle the Orinoko crud.

Ahhh....Chalmette. Found memories of watching the glow from the refiners above the skyline of the French Quarter.


I'm afraid not, but elements were referred to in DOE report to Congress in late 2005 or early 2006, not long after the CNOOC withdrew from its bid for Unocal. I believe you should be able to grab that off internet, not sure where/how though.

In any case, it's not just oil that China is investing in in Africa, but infrastructure projects and, if I remember correctly, agricultural projects. They are making a major play to be a serious influence on the continent as a whole, it appears.

They're externalizing today's surpluses while manufacturing future consumers...I'd also be interested in the report/info.

I'm afraid i cannot, but, in case you haven't seen it, here is China's official Africa policy announced in early 2006. It formalized several trends seen in deals in the years just before it.