BP Expands Deepwater E&P Blocks Offshore Angola

BP confirmed Tuesday it has gained access to five more deepwater exploration and production blocks offshore Angola. These give BP a leading position in Angola, with interests in nine blocks accounting for a total acreage of 32,650 square kilometres (km2).

In a ceremony Tuesday in Luanda, in the presence of state oil company Sonangol's president Manuel Vincente and BP group chief executive Bob Dudley, the production sharing agreements were signed for four new blocks covering 19,400 km2 in the Kwanza and Benguela basins.

Separately, BP has recently taken a 40 percent stake in the 4,840 km2 Block 26 in the Benguela basin, by agreeing a farm-in deal with Brazilian national oil company, Petrobras, which operates the block.

"In October, we told the markets we would build on our strengths in exploration and in the deepwater to provide future growth for BP. This new access builds on the major presence we have developed in Angola over the past 10 years, investing a total of $21 billion in the business. We plan to double our global spend on exploration and this huge new acreage gives us more great opportunities. We look forward to working with Sonangol in the Kwanza and Benguela basins," said Bob Dudley. "The last 14 months have been our most successful for a decade in gaining new access for exploration - with 69 new exploration licences in 11 countries."

BP was awarded operatorship of Blocks 19 and 24 with 50 percent interest, and additional non-operating interests in Blocks 20 (20 percent) and 25 (15 percent). With Block 26, the five new blocks cover a total area of 24,000 km2 in water depths from 200 to 2500 metres, and increase BP's total Angolan acreage by 275 percent.

BP's involvement with Angola goes back to the mid 1970s. During the 1990s, BP made very substantial investments in Angola's offshore oil, and it is now an important part of the company's upstream portfolio. BP has existing interests in four deepwater blocks and has a 13.6 per cent interest in the Angola LNG project.

BP already has stakes in four blocks in Angola - Blocks 15 & 17 non-operated; 18 & 31 BP-operated. BP has production from Blocks 15, 17 and 18. Reported production in 2010 was 170,000 net barrels per day (bpd).

BP's exploration programme on Block 31, deploying leading seismic imaging technologies, has so far led to 19 discoveries, five of which are subsalt, traditionally difficult to image.

BP expects its first development in Block 31, PSVM, to start production in 2012 producing 150,000 gross bpd at plateau. BP's share is 26.67 per cent.

In January 2011, Sonangol announced the outline awards and operatorships for Blocks 19, 20, 24 and 25. Terms of the production sharing agreements have now been approved.

In Block 26, licensed in 2006, Sonangol has a 20 percent stake, and has approved the farm-in deal for BP. Operator Petrobras (40 percent) has already carried out a 3D seismic survey.

The geology of the Kwanza and Benguela basins is thought to mirror Brazil's hydrocarbon-rich pre-salt regions. BP has interest in 10 blocks offshore Brazil through last year's acquisition of Devon Energy assets.


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