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Statoil Farms down Angola Pre-Salt Block to Genel

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Statoil has signed an agreement to farm down a 15-percent interest in pre-salt block 39, offshore Angola, to a joint venture involving Genel Energy, the firms reported Thursday.

Statoil, which operates the block, will retain a 40-percent interest after the farm down. Sonangol P&P holds 30 percent of the remaining interest, while Total holds 15 percent.

The Genel/White Rose Energy Ventures joint venture – WRG Angola Block 39 Limited – has also acquired from China Sonangol International Holdings a 15-percent share in the Statoil-operated block 38. Following the acquisition Statoil retains a 55-percent stake, while the remaining 30 percent is held by Sonangol P&P.

Gareth Burns, senior vice president for exploration strategy and business development at Statoil, commented in a company statement:

"This is part of Statoil's active portfolio management. The farm-down reflects the attractiveness of Statoil’s acreage in Angola and having WRG onboard allows us to share exploration risk, while retaining a significant working interest. WRG brings technical experience to a challenging geological setting, and we look forward to a productive relationship with them in Angola."

In its statement about the deal, Genel said that the exploration blocks hold multi-billion barrel prospects and that the play has already been de-risked by exploration drilling in Angola and in the directly analogous Santos and Campos Basins, offshore Brazil.

The firm added that the Stena Carron (DW drillship) vessel has been contracted for a drilling program that is expected to begin during the second quarter of this year, with the first well in the program expected to target the Dilolo prospect on Block 39.

Commenting on the deal with Statoil, Genel Chief Executive Tony Hayward said:

"This transaction provides a rare opportunity to enter into a low risk, multi-billion barrel resource play. It fits with our stated strategy of securing high quality exploration opportunities targeting very material resources, and further enhances the opportunity to add significant shareholder value through the drill bit in Africa.

"Partnering with White Rose offers us a unique opportunity to secure a material interest in the exciting pre-salt play whilst managing our financial exposure to a level appropriate for a company of our size. White Rose brings significant directly relevant technical experience which together with Statoil, a first-class operator with longstanding regional knowledge and relationships, establishes a strong and exciting partnership with which to establish an entry position in Angola."


A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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