Sonangol approves oil developments on Angola's Block 31

Angola's position as Africa's leading oil exporter is set to rise as new offshore deepwater discoveries on Block 31 are brought on stream by 2011.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, July 28 -- Angola's position as Africa's leading oil exporter is set to rise as new offshore deepwater discoveries on Block 31 are brought on stream by 2011.

Angola's state oil company Sonangol has given operator BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd. and its partners the nod to develop the Pluto, Saturn, Venus, and Mars (PSVM) fields, which lie in the northeast part of the block.

Development is expected to start this year and oil production should peak to 150,000 b/d by 2012. The fields lie in 2,000 m of water and are 400 km northwest of Luanda.

The PSVM field development will comprise a converted-hull floating, production, storage, and offloading vessel with 1.6 million bbl of storage capacity; 48 production, gas, and water-injection wells plus infill wells; 15 manifolds and associated subsea equipment; 170 km of flowlines; and 95 km of control umbilicals.

Sonangol's approval is key for BP's production profile into the next decade and beyond. Andy Inglis, chief executive of BP exploration and production, said, "It demonstrates the scale of the resource base in Block 31."

So far the consortium has discovered 15 fields on the acreage to date and it will develop the others in a similar manner to the PSVM group of fields. The partners have begun to plan the second development in the southeast part of the block. They are also ready to award major contracts for the first phase once it has been sanctioned.

BP holds a 26.67% interest in Block 31. Partners are Esso Exploration & Production Angola (Block 31) Ltd. 25%, Sonangol EP 20%, Statoil Angola AS 13.33%, Marathon International Petroleum Angola Block 31 Ltd. 10%, and TEPA (Block 31) Ltd. with 5%.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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