The recent restructuring of the legal framework of the petroleum sector and the creation of the National Agency for the Oil and Gas Sector ("ANPG"), required some amendments to the Petroleum Activities Law (Law 10/04, of 12 November 2004 "PAL"), which were now introduced by Law 5/19, of 18th April 2019, aimed at replacing Sonangol E.P. ("SNL") by ANPG as the new national concessionaire for the oil & gas industry and award special rights to SNL.

The above amendments to the PAL, may be summarized as follows:

  • ANPG becomes the National Concessionaire and exclusive holder of the mineral rights for oil & gas exploration and production;
  • Sonangol is awarded the following rights:

(a) Pre-emption right in case of assignments of participating interest to non-affiliates of the assignor;

(b) The right to acquire a participating interests of up to 20% and be appointed as operator in case of extension of the production periods;

(c) Pre-emption right to acquire a minimum 20% participating interest and be appointed operator in any new concessions; and

(d) The right to be carried by its foreign partners in up to 20% during the whole exploration period, provided it is not appointed as operator.

The above new set of rules seems to raise a number of questions and concerns that may only be clarified by the practice to be followed by the authorities.