Diageo to Centrica target Angola oil wealth in United Kingdom trade push


Diageo to Centrica target Angola oil wealth in United Kingdom trade push


WINDSOR (Bloomberg) -- Centrica and world’s biggest distiller Diageo are among British companies that may start operations in Angola as it seeks to rebuild and ease its dependence on oil, according to a United Kingdom trade mission.

The United Kingdom’s biggest ever business delegation to Angola visited the southwest African country, the United Kingdom’s third-largest export market in sub-Saharan Africa, from October 7 to 10. The two countries signed an agreement in June to improve trade as Angola, which produces the most crude in Africa after Nigeria, seeks to diversify away from oil.

“If you said two years ago to British businesses ‘come to Angola,’ we might have had five” companies, mission leader Jonathan Marland said in an October 8 interview in Luanda, the capital. “Now we had a waiting list and really good support.”

Angola, which produced 1.74 MMbopd in September and relies on crude for 97 % of its exports, is rebuilding after a 27 year civil war that ended in 2002. About 15 British educational institutions are due to visit next month while a group of United Kingdom agricultural companies are scheduled to arrive early next year, Jonathan Alms, an adviser to United Kingdom Trade & Investment, said in an interview.

Growing Interest

Oil and gas producer BP, the largest British investor in Angola to date, plans to spend $15 billion in the country over the next decade on projects such as the PSVM oil field and the country’s first liquid natural gas plant, Robert Wine, a London based spokesman for the company, said by e-mail.

“Non-oil investment by United Kingdom companies in Angola is very small, but interest is growing,” John Woodruffe, head of Trade & Investment at the British embassy in Luanda, said in an interview. The exact amount of British investment excluding petroleum is difficult to determine because not all companies register their operations with the embassy, he said.

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