February 9, 2018 / 2:43 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-Angola natural gas legislation in final stages

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LUANDA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Legislation covering the rights of companies to explore and produce natural gas in Angola, Africa’s second largest crude producer, is “in its final stages,” Secretary of State for Oil Paulino Jeronimo said on Friday.

The new law is eagerly awaited by oil majors who have previously been unable to commercialise gas discoveries because there is no existing legislation covering gas rights.

This forced BP to take a $750 million hit last year as it wrote off the exploration costs surrounding a gas discovery in the Kwanza basin and relinquished its 50 percent stake back to state oil company Sonangol.

Speaking on the sidelines of a government event held for the natural resources sector, Jeronimo told reporters that the gas rights legislation should be passed to the executive arm of government this month.

“We have to give those who discover the gas the rights to monetise these resources,” Jeronimo said.

He said the law would probably not apply retroactively but that companies like BP could potentially reactivate or recover what was discovered. Jeronimo did not give further details on how this might be done. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by James Macharia and Peter Graff)

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