Upstream activities at Sonangol involve lease granting both onshore and offshore of Angola and oil exploration and production. The production of gas will begin in 2015.

Even though Sonangol is the exclusive oil lease grantor in Angola, until 1993 it hadn't the capability to function as an oil company. Therefore it had no expertise to operate in the industry of hydrocarbon exploration. Thus, until a recent past, all concessions for oil exploration and production on Angolan soil and/or offshore were granted to foreign companies.

To fill this void, Sonangol Group established the subsidiary  Pesquisa & Produção (P&P) in 1992. As P&P grew as a company and gained experience in the oil industry, Sonangol Group established the subsidiary Sonangol SGPS as a drilling company to support P&P. They also made a joint-venture with SBM Production to create Sonasing whose mission statement is to prepare and store crude for exportation.

Currently P&P produces about 10,000 bpd on areas of Block 02, and roughly 93,000 bpd on Block 03 that is located in shallow waters. This quantity accounts for approximately 6% of all crude produced in Angola.

P&P has taken on a more challenging venture and now has an oil exploration and production lease partnership in ultra-deep waters on Block 34 produced about 200,000 bpd by 2009.

As part of its worldwide expansion strategy, Sonangol has an oil exploration partnership in the Republic of Gabon Kiarsseny Marin block - an area of about 5,442 km2. For this venture Sonangol is a shareholder with 10% of the profits. Other companies in the contractor group are Tullow Oil from Ireland and Addax Petroleum whose headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

On the African continent Sonangol has maintained business cooperation with oil producing countries in the Gulf of Guinea - Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe. These partnerships have greatly contributed to the development of Angola's' oil industry.

Regarding upstream Sonangol's objectives for the next four (4) years are:

  • After having reached the 2,000,000 bpd goal, we aim at maintaining the average oil production in Angola at that level,
  • To supply about 35% of Sub Saharan crude sales to the United states and to be the main supplier to Austral Africa and
  • Put our best expertise and efforts to be the producer of 30% of the total crude exploration in Angola.