What are new initiatives are taking place in Angola’s energy sector?

DE VASCONCELOS: We are developing 'pre-salt' activities. This is a big project. We are waiting for positive results. We have drilled two wells, and we are excited about this success.

To what extent does the energy sector contribute to overall GDP in Angola?

DE VASCONCELOS: In the last 5 years, the percentage of our GDP that comes from oil has decreased to about 43%. In 2006-2007, the portion of our GDP from oil was around 62%. This is very important for Angola. It is a strong signal that our economy is improving, as other economic sectors are beginning to grow in their overall contribution to GDP. This economic diversification is key for Angola.

What are the expectations for the two blocks Angola is currently developing?

DE VASCONCELOS: This year we will begin dividing our onshore blocks. We are trying to promote this activity, and establish 11 blocks in the Kwanza Basin, and 4 blocks in lower Congo. I believe there is an opportunity to invite foreign companies to participate in future bidding in Angola with our national companies.

What are the biggest challenges are for the petroleum sector as a whole?

DE VASCONCELOS: We are focused on the oil industry. There are three key needs to develop this industry. We need foreign investment, technological advances, and improved education. Educating our people is important to us.

What foreign companies are you currently doing business with?

DE VASCONCELOS: We are working with major American companies like Exxon. We are also working with companies from Europe. These companies are very important to the development of the oil industry in Angola.

What new companies are you looking to work with and what resources remain in Angola?

DE VASCONCELOS: We have 12.6bn barrels of oil in untapped reserves in Angola. I think these reserves will last 15-20 years if we continue with current production levels. Our target is to achieve 2m barrels in 2014-2015.

What is your overall outlook for Angola and investment?

DE VASCONCELOS: Angola is an open country. We have a lot of opportunities. We are trying to improve all of our economic sectors. We have strong potential in agriculture. Our industries are showing signs of success. We welcome all investors and are ready to negotiate with them.