BP Makes 3rd Deepwater Discovery Offshore Angola

Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola (Sonangol) and BP announced the 'Marte' oil discovery in the ultra-deepwater Block 31, offshore Angola. This is the fourth exploration well BP has drilled in Block 31, and the third successful discovery following the Plutao and Saturno discoveries, which lie some 20 to 25 kilometers from Marte. BP plans to drill one further exploration well, Venus-1, in this area this year.

BP is currently exploring various development concepts. The proximity of Marte to Plutao and Saturno makes a joint development likely, however, further work will be required to define the scope of any subsequent development.

The Marte-1 well was drilled in a water depth of 2,000 meters some 175 kilometers off the Angolan coast, and reached a total depth of 4,193 meters below sea level. It flowed at 5,200 barrels a day during testing.

Block 31 and its operatorship was awarded in 1999 by Angola's state oil company Sonangol to BP with a 26.67 percent equity together with its partners Esso Exploration and Production Angola (Block 31) Limited 25 percent, Sonangol, E.P. 20 percent, Statoil Angola A.S.13.33 percent, Marathon Petroleum Angola Block 31 Limited 10 percent and EPA (Block 31) Ltd (a member of the Total group of companies) 5 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 interests in four blocks with operatorship of two.

Operatorship of Block 31 was awarded to BP Exploration (Angola) Limited in May 1999. The Block covers an area of 5,349 square kilometers and lies in water depths of between 1,500 and 2,500 meters. This is normally classified as ultra-deep water.

BP also operates Block 18, which contains the Greater Plutonio project. BP has 50 percent equity in the Block. Shell also has 50 percent.

BP's other interests in Angola are:

  • Block 15 operated by Esso (BP 26.67 percent equity), which contains the Kizomba A, Kizomba B and Xikomba fields that are now being developed.
  • Block 17 operated by Total (BP 16.67 per cent equity), which contains the Girassol field, which came on stream in December 2001 and the Dalia field, which was approved for development by Sonangol in May 2003.

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