Sonangol Group

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Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola E.P.
TypeStatutory corporation
IndustryOil and gas industry
Founded1976 (1976)
Key people
Sebastião Gaspar Martins (Chairman and CEO)
RevenueUS$ 8.5 billion (2021)
OwnerGovernment of Angola
Number of employees
13,000 (2022)

Group Sonangol (Portuguese: Grupo Sonangol) is a parastatal that formerly oversaw petroleum and natural gas production in Angola.[1] The group consisted of Sonangol E.P. (Portuguese: Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola, E.P.) and its many subsidiaries. The subsidiaries generally had Sonangol E.P. as a primary client, along with other corporate, commercial, and individual clients. Angola is estimated to have over 5 billion barrels (790,000,000 m3) of offshore and coastal petroleum reserves, and new discoveries are outpacing consumption by a 5-to-1 ratio.

In February 2019, the government transferred the industry regulation functions of Sonangol to a new government agency, the National Oil, Gas and Biofuel Agency (ANPG). The ANPG also gained from Sonangol the right to award fossil fuel exploration, development, and production contracts.


On the eve of Portuguese Angola's independence from Portugal following the Carnation Revolution and the election of a democratic government in Portugal in 1976, the company ANGOL (ANGOL Sociedade de Lubrificantes e Combustíveis Sarl), founded in 1953 as a subsidiary of Portuguese company SACOR) was nationalized and split in two, forming Sonangol U.E.E. and Direcção Nacional de Petróleos. Directive 52/76 instituted Sonangol as a state-owned company with a mandate to manage the country's substantial petroleum and natural gas. Using the extant remains of Texaco, Total, Shell and Mobil's oil works, Sonangol obtained the assistance of Algerian Sonatrach and of Italian Eni.

Oil giant Marathon Oil announced in September 2013 that it had agreed a deal in principle to sell a 10% stake in its offshore Angolan oilfield to Sonangol.[2]

In December 2013, Sonangol acquired the exploration rights to five onshore oil blocks in Angola, which could be tendered for development at a later date.[3]

In June 2016, president José Eduardo dos Santos removed the entire board of Sonangol, and installed Isabel dos Santos as chairwoman of the company, to "ensure transparency and apply global corporate-governance standards".[4] This led to many accusations of corruption and nepotism. However, in November 15, 2017, the new president of Angola João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço dismissed Isabel dos Santos and named Carlos Saturnino Guerra Sousa e Oliveira as the Sonangol chairman.[5] An internal audit later revealed that after she had been dismissed, dos Santos transferred US$38 million of the company's funds to a suspicious Dubai based company.[6]

In February 2019, a new government agency, the National Oil, Gas and Biofuel Agency (ANPG) took over regulation and promotion of the Angolan petroleum industry from Sonangol. ANPG was given the power to supervise Sonangol, and became the new National Concessionaire. In this regard, ANPG now controls who wins licenses to explore for petroleum, and awards contracts for production.[7]

Sonangol sold in Puma Energy, an energy trading firm, to Trafigura in April 2021 for $600 million. Sonagol also purchased Puma's assets in Angola for $600 million. The assets included the Puamngol chain of gasoline stations, and several airport and marine terminals.[8]

In 2021, the company's revenues had increased by 38%, placing turnovers at US$8.5bn for the year compared to the US$6.1bn from the previous year.[9] Sonangol employs 13,000 employees.[10]

Missing oil billions[edit]

In December 2011, Human Rights Watch said that the Government of Angola should explain the whereabouts of US$32 billion missing from government funds linked to Sonangol. A December 2011 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the government funds were spent or transferred from 2007 through 2010 without being properly documented in the budget.[11] The IMF was assured that most of $32 billion was being used for legitimate government reasons and considered to be "found".[12]


Today (as of 2006), Sonangol has over 30 subsidiaries and maintains overseas facilities in the following cities:

As the company grew it had a need to obtain services, such as telecommunications services, retail network support, trucking, shipping, data management, scientific, engineering, seismic, and others. The company created subsidiaries to meet these needs. Sonangol and its many subsidiaries have continued to expand into other lines of business. Among the more important subsidiaries are Sonair and MSTelcom.

Sonangol is one of the major shareholders of the Portuguese energy company Galp Energia through its indirect participation in the capital of Amorim Energia, which holds one third of GALP's shares and on which board sits the son-in-law of the Angolan President.[16]

Sonangol is an important sponsor of the arts, sports and humanities in Angola and in Africa. On December 12, Reuters reported that Sonangol won the rights to develop the Iraq's Najmah oilfield in a bid held that day. The company's plateau production target for the field in the volatile province of Nineveh is 110,000 barrels per day (17,000 m3/d) (bpd), and the remuneration fee is $6 per barrel. Sonangol had proposed a per-barrel fee of $8.50, but then accepted the Oil Ministry's lower amount.

In 2018, Sonangol announced that they will reactivate their Iraqi oil exploration fields in Najma and Qayara after years of closure due to constant armed conflicts. The two oil fields in Iraq are estimated to still have a reserve of 1 billion barrels of oil.[17]



Sonangol USA, Sonangol London, and Sonangol Asia are the main trading and operations offices for the crude and product cargoes sold on behalf of Sonangol E.P. Sonangol Starfish has been located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since 22 March 2010.


  1. ^ Heller, Patrick R. P. (2011), Victor, David G.; Hults, David R.; Thurber, Mark C. (eds.), "Angola's Sonangol: dexterous right hand of the state", Oil and Governance: State-Owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply, Cambridge University Press, pp. 836–884, doi:10.1017/cbo9780511784057.022, ISBN 978-0-511-78405-7
  2. ^ Marathon Oil to sell stake in Angolan field for $590 million, International: Reuters, 2013
  3. ^ Sonangol secures oil exploration rights in five onshore blocks in Angola, Africa: Oil Review Africa, 2013
  4. ^ "All in the family: Angola president picks eldest daughter to head state oil firm, western firms scramble for contracts". MG Africa. 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  5. ^ Exonerado Conselho de Administração da Sonangol, Angola: Angop (Agência Angola Press), 2017
  6. ^ "Angola's Isabel dos Santos denies graft allegations by oil firm chief". Reuters. 2018-03-05.
  7. ^ "Angola's National Oil and Gas Agency is now official". Energy Capital & Power. February 8, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2022; "Presidential Decree No. 49/19 creating the National Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuel (ANPG). FAOLEX Database". 2022. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  8. ^ Payne, julia (April 16, 2021). "Trafigura to buy Sonangol's Puma Energy stake for $600 million". Reuters. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  9. ^ "Sonangol Undertakes Competitive Strategy for 2022". 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  10. ^ "Sonangol EP - Profile". Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  11. ^ Human Rights Watch - Angola: Explain Missing Government Funds retrieved 21 December 2011
  12. ^ Wroughton, Lesley (2012-01-25). "IMF finds most of Angola's missing $32 bln". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2014-08-16. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  13. ^ "1177 Enclave Pkwy." Energy Corridor. Retrieved on 6 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Contact Information Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine." Sonangol USA. Retrieved on 6 August 2011. "1177 Enclave Parkway 2nd floor Suite 200 Houston, TX 77077 "
  15. ^ "Contact Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine." Sonangol Limited. Retrieved on 6 August 2011. "Sonangol Limited Merevale House Brompton Place London SW3 1QE United Kingdom."
  16. ^ Daddy's Girl: How An African 'Princess' Banked $3 Billion In A Country Living On $2 A Day Forbes. 8-14-2013. Retrieved on 19-09-2013.
  17. ^ "Angola: Sonangol to Restart Oil Production in Iraqi". Angola Press Agency (Luanda). March 2018.

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