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The Angolan oil and gas ministry announced that CNOOC, a major Chinese oil company, is dispatching a team of senior executives to Angola to discuss opportunities for oil exploration.

Angola left oil producer group OPEC in December and wants to strengthen energy relations with China, a major creditor and key oil export market, officials said during a government trip to Beijing led by Angolan President Joao Lourenco.

“In the coming days, a delegation from CNOOC, led by Mr. Liu Yongjie, Chairman of CNOOC International Limited, is set to travel to Angola to start discussions around block 24 and other oil exploration opportunities.

The statement followed a meeting between Angola’s oil minister and a delegation from the CNOOC.

President Lourenco is actively overseeing a comprehensive overhaul of Angola’s energy sector, organizing numerous block auctions over the past five years and overseeing the construction of additional refining capacity as part of efforts to reverse the decline in oil production.