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oil5435LISBON: Angola plans to increase oil production to 1.84 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and extend an output rebound that has helped the economy return to strong growth after three disappointing years, a government budget bill showed.

 

Angola briefly rivalled Nigeria, Africa's top producer, in oil exports in 2009, but its shipments fell back in the following two years due to a drop in oil prices and then technical problems and maintenance at some fields.

 

Oil production fell to 1.66 million bpd in 2011, but with oil fields coming back on line and new ones gathering pace, the government said output rose to 1.8 million in 2012.

 

The 2013 budget proposal, emailed to Reuters by the finance ministry on Friday, is based on a 2013-2017 National Development Plan (PND) that shows the rebound in oil production climbing to 2 million bpd in 2015 and peaking at 2.08 million in 2016.

 

Oil output represents almost all of Angola's export income and nearly half of its GDP.

 

The rebound in production has helped Angola's economy return to rapid growth, with the government saying latest estimates show an expansion of 7.4 percent in 2012. The budget forecasts GDP to grow 7.1 percent this year.

 

Angola posted average GDP growth of 15 percent per year between 2002 and 2008, but a drop in oil prices braked expansion to 2.4 percent in 2009.

 

According to the projections in the PND, the government is targeting GDP growth to speed up to 8 percent in 2014 and 8.8 percent in 2015 before slowing again.

 

Angola also expects to make further progress in curbing price increases.

 

The budget forecasts annual consumer inflation to brake to 9 percent this year after the government reached a target of bringing inflation down to single digits in 2012.

 

The medium-term scenario shows the trend continuing, with inflation expected to slow to 8 percent in 2014 before stabilizing at 7 percent in 2015.

 

The budget bill is expected to be approved by the ruling MPLA party's large majority in parliament, with a vote on its main guidelines set for Tuesday and a final vote on Feb. 14.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2010