Total OKs Management Transfer of Angola Blocks to Sonangol

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Dec. 24, 2010

Total has agreed to transfer the management of two Angola marginal blocks to state oil company Sonangol, spokesmen for the two companies said Friday, as the French oil giant focuses its efforts on larger assets in the country.

An agreement for the transfer of operations of oil blocks 3-85 and 3-91 from the French oil major to Sonangol "is finalized," a Sonangol spokesman said.

The operatorship of the two blocks and of a nearby field will be taken over by Sonangol from Jan. 1, a spokesman for Total confirmed.

Though Sonangol didn't explain the reasons for the move, the transfer of operations to state oil companies is common in production-sharing agreements once a field reaches maturity.

According to a 2009 document posted on Total's website, the acreage, in which it owns 50%, was awarded in 1985 for "Block 3-85" and in 1991 for "Block 3-91," which are located relatively close to the coast.

Total has made Angola one of its priorities in the development of its acreage. But it has shifted focus further afield, to deep and ultra-deep waters offshore Angola, from where it gets the largest part of its production and reserves.

The Total spokesman said the transferred acreage accounts for less than 5% of the company's production entitlements in Angola, which averaged 191,000 barrels a day in 2009.

In September, Total also signaled it could sell a 5% stake it holds in Angola's Block 31.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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