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Angola's oil production has fallen to 1.6 million b/d, oil minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said Wednesday, making it increasingly unlikely that Africa's second-biggest producer will reach its output target of 2 million b/d next year.

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Vasconcelos Wednesday blamed the country's declining output on lengthy maintenance issues and supply disruptions at some of its fields. Rapid reservoir depletion has also resulted in steep decline rates at some developments, the minister said on the sidelines of Wednesday's OPEC meeting in Vienna.

Oil production has averaged 1.65 million b/d in the last six months and has been declining month on month since November, according to data compiled by Platts.

Despite the problems, Angola has several oil projects scheduled to start producing in the next five years. Total's Clov development in block 17 is expected to start up next month before peaking at 160,000 b/d in the last quarter in 2014, the minister said.

Eni forecasts that its Western Hub project, which would be the first production in the Italian major's operated block 15/06, will start in 2014 and peak at 80,000 b/d, while Chevron is hoping to pump 110,000 b/d next year from the $5.6 billion Mafumeira Sul development.

The minister also said that Angola LNG's Soyo plant will remain offline until next year to allow its contractor, Bechtel, to initiate repairs and increase capacity at the plant.

The plant has been shut since mid-April because of technical problems at the 5.2 million mt/year facility.

Shareholders in the project are Chevron (36.4%), Sonangol (22.8%), BP (13.6%), Eni (13.6%), and Total (13.6%).