"There is a positive development according to market reaction. After many measures taken by the new president, investors are looking at things differently, especially the issue of transparency, competitiveness and openness in terms of the possibility of new investments," Sérgio Pugliese said in an interview with Lusa in Lisbon.
"The changes made in the last two years convey the idea of an Angola open to investment, to diversification, and in the oil industry there have been major investments in refining, in the area of storage," he added, pointing to the examples of the partnership between Total and Sonangol in petrol pumps, ENI's investments in the search for new oil wells and the development of renewable energy projects.
For the representative of CEA, an organization dedicated to promoting investment in Africa in the energy area, the covid-19 pandemic will lead to major changes worldwide and Angola will have to adapt.
"There will be a great change in the world, in terms of behaviour and especially in the energy industry there is a great adjustment and Angola has here a great opportunity to readapt and have a positive outcome," he said.
The CEA organized last year a conference to attract foreign investment to the country, with the second edition planned for June, but had to postpone to October due to current conditions.
"We received a positive reaction from the government when we asked to postpone until October, and the main objective is to attract investment, we want to help the government to reopen Angola as an investment location and that is why we bring investors to the country, to talk to the authorities," explained Sérgio Pugliese.
Asked whether the sharp drop in demand for oil will have an influence on oil companies' investment decisions in Angola, he devalued the issue, pointing out that these large companies are used to operating in a cyclical environment.
"The industry is accustomed to cycles, with price falls for political, health and environmental reasons, so they already have strategies in place to accommodate these situations; there has been a large reduction in exploration development projects and investment is continuing to ensure the robustness of production," he explained.
In Angola, he pointed out, "the impact at this stage is not that great" because investments take time.
"There have been several reforms in the last two years that have attracted investment for exploration, there has been a bidding process for oil blocks that emerged from the reform of the national oil and gas agency and these activities take their natural time, investments take years and therefore in this phase the impact is not great," he said.
Regarding the partial privatisation of Sonangol, Sérgio Pugliese admitted that it would be postponed until next year, but considered that this was not a concern and might even give the Angolan national oil company the chance to value the assets before selling them.