BP Drills Ultra-Deep Well in Angola's Block 31

BP has begun drilling the first ultra-deep water oil well off Angola with Transocean Sedco Forex's drill ship Deepwater Discovery. BP began drilling their first well, Jupiter #1, in ultra-deep water Block 31, which is located in 1,850 meters of water, this past weekend. The block was one of three concessions handed out in 1999 for a total of almost $1 billion in signing bonuses to the government. It is estimated BP paid more than $100 million for its share of block 31.

Angola, with an estimated 12 billion barrels in offshore reserves according to the government, is considered one of the world's oil exploration hotspots. The southwest African country pumps 750,000 barrels a day, making it the second leading producer in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria.

BP's block 31 sub-seafield is estimated to lie about 3 km below the mud, shallower than Gulf of Mexico and North Sea drilling, which often reaches 5 km below the sea bed.