Angola's Sonangol is in talks to buy a direct stake in Portugal's Galp Energia , which holds interests in four oil blocks and a gas export project offshore Angola, a senior executive from the state-run African oil company said. Sonangol is negotiating to buy half of Italian group Eni's 33.3 percent stake in Galp, board member Sebastiao Gaspar Martins told Reuters on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Kuwait. Crisis-hit Portugal has been courting investment from its oil-rich former colony in a bid to revive its flagging economy.
Sonangol holds a 15 percent indirect stake in Galp through its 45 percent stake in Portugal's Amorim Energia, which controls a third of Galp, but wants a direct stake. "We are working on that deal," Martins said. "We will go ahead ... I think the deal will be done," he said when asked if Sonangol is talks to buy half of Eni's stake. Eni declined to comment.
Portuguese business newspaper Diario Economico said last week that negotiations were under way and the sale could be agreed in March. The Portuguese government also plans to sell its 7 percent stake in Galp this year under a privatisation programme dictated by the terms of an international bailout package. Angola is an increasingly important part of Galp's growth strategy, with the Chevron -operated block 14 located 80 km off the coast of the south west African country the only asset currently producing oil for Galp in Angola.
Galp also has oil interests in Brazil where it partners Petrobras in 20 projects spread over seven basins, according to the company's website. In November, Chinese state-owned oil company Sinopec Group agreed to pay $3.5 billion for a 30 percent stake in Galp's Brazilian unit. Galp is mostly a refiner and a relative newcomer in the world of big oil.