Just over a decade after a long-running civil war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, the West African country of Angola is one of the world’s hottest locations for the oil and gas industry today. Angola is the second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, according to Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with developments like BP’s PVSM project – one of the largest subsea developments in the world – contributing to the country producing around 1.7 million barrels of oil per day. The country’s vice minister for petroleum recently stated that it has 13 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
Meanwhile, the pre-salt layer off Angola’s coastline has also provoked interest among international companies hoping to find discoveries of a similar scale to those found in Brazil’s prolific Santos Basin. All of this activity has led to Angola experiencing a significant influx of foreign oil workers in recent years, with capital city Luanda seeing a jump in prices for expats.
« Despite being one of Africa’s major oil producers, Angola is a relatively poor country yet expensive for expatriates since imported goods can be costly. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly, » Barb Marder, global mobility practice leader at consulting firm Mercer, stated in a press release in July. According to both Mercer’s 2013 Cost of Living Survey and the latest cost of living report from ECA, Luanda ranks as the most expensive city in the world for expats.
For example, Mercer found that the typical cost to rent a luxury two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in Luanda is $6,500 per month (a similar apartment in Sydney, Australia would cost just $2,550 per month). Meanwhile, a fast-food hamburger meal costs just over $20 while a pair of blue jeans retails at $204. ECA said that a commodity boom-driven currency appreciation in recent years has contributed to Luanda’s high living costs for expats.