OPEC is to get a new African member next year adding considerable clout to the energy cartel, and Angola. The Angolans hope they can join in March 2007, becoming the second nation to say they will join OPEC recently, after Ecuador said it would return to the fold it left 14 years ago.
Angola currently pumps around one point four million barrels a day, and its exports are stable compared to higher-risk suppliers like Nigeria, which has seen guerrillas cut output this year by 20 percent. OPEC would welcome a predictable flow from a new source flush with rising revenues, and which promises to increase output next year to two million barrels a day. China takes three quarters of this, the Americans the rest.
Angola’s reserves place it fourth among Africa’s oil producers; A 12e-member OPEC will now have four African members, which may change the political dynamics in the organisation. Oil is also fuelling a runaway economic boom in Angola. Last year’s growth rate of over 20 percent was the best in the world.
America may be unhappy about Angola joining OPEC. It wanted it to stay independent, but some argue membership may also spur better financial transparency, and increased foreign investment. Sudan, which hopes to become a one million barrel a day producer in 12 months time, also wants to join. In order to prevent oil rainbows becoming false economic dawns both countries will need to reinvest their cash, and resist the temptation to party on the profits.