Angola has wrapped up a successful onshore licensing round by awarding a mix of foreign and domestic companies operatorship of all nine blocks offered in the prolific Kwanza and Congo basins.

The big winner was Canadian player MTI Energy, which secured four blocks including KON 5, the most sought-after tract due to its history of oil production.

Luanda launched the onshore round last year in a focused attempt to encourage domestic companies to apply for acreage and appears to have succeeded, with a significant number of Angolan players winning operating and non-operating stakes.

ANPG, the Angolan upstream regulator, unveiled all the competing bidders in July. Since then, it has assessed their offers and made the awards.

Many of the successful companies had also bid for the same acreage in an aborted licencing round in 2015.

A number of well-known domestic players including Somoil and Grupo Simples, Alfort Petroleum and Angola Integrated Services (AIS) landed operatorships along with newcomers such as Mineral One.

Edmonton-based MTI is partnered by state-owned Sonangol P&P, Grupo Simples and Monka Oil in KON 5, which hosts two producing fields — Quenguela South and Mulenvas South.

MTI was also awarded blocks CON 5, KON 17 and KON 20, all three of which are regarded as exploration tracts.

In CON 5, its partners include two established local players Prodoil and Prodiaman plus two others — Upite Oil and Servicab.

The company’s minority stakeholders in KON 17 are US junior Brite’s Oil & Gas and Luanda-based mining player Mineral One, with Houston-based Brite’s being the sole partner in KON 20.

MTI’s website describes the company as a spin-off of the drilling and well intervention services division Mitey Titan Industries.

The company also said it has “developed proprietary systems to accelerate development of oilfields at marginal cost”.

MTI’s chairman is lawyer Ralph Lean while its chief executive is Tab Khehra, who also founded Mitey Titan.

Somoil picked up CON 1 — the same block it was awarded in the failed 2015 round — where it is joined by Baltimore-registered Intank Group, Monka Oil and Mauritius-registered security company Omega Risk Solutions.

Mineral One — established in 2018 and whose chief executive is Inoque Eduardo — has teamed up with Somoil, AIS and Prodoil to explore CON 6, while Grupo Simples joined forces with MTI to secure KON 6, which it was due to be awarded in the abandoned 2015 bid round.

Successfully chasing the same tract it landed six years ago, Alfort has lined up Grupo Simples, MTI and Monka as its partners in KON 8.

In KON 9, Grupo Simples and Brite’s join operator AIS, which was also due to land the same tract in 2015.

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Alfort’s head is Luis Gomez while its managing director is Carlos Gomes.

ANPG said it “will shortly notify the winning companies about the date and place for the start of the contract negotiation process”.

Contract negotiations are set to run until 3 December, according to the ANPG, with contract to be signed on 28 January.