BP Makes 5th Discovery in Block 31 Offshore Angola

Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol) and BP announced the 'Palas-1' oil discovery in deepwater Block 31, offshore Angola. Palas-1 is the fifth successful discovery BP has drilled in Block 31, following Plutão, Saturno, Marte and Venus. It is located 62 kilometers to the southeast of the Plutão discovery, and in a potentially new development area in the southeast of the block.

Palas-1 was drilled by the semi-submersible drilling rig, the Leiv Eiriksson, in 1,602 meters water depth some 325 kilometers north west of Luanda, Angola and reached a total depth of 3,745 meters below sea level. The well was tested at a maximum rate of 5,330 barrels of oil a day (b/d) through a 40/64ths inch choke. Further work will be needed to evaluate the full extent of the Palas discovery.

Sonangol is the concessionaire of Block 31. BP as operator holds 26.67 per cent. Partners in Block 31 are Esso Exploration and Production Angola (Block 31) Limited. (25 per cent), Sonangol E.P. (20 per cent), Statoil Angola A.S. (13.33 per cent), Marathon Petroleum Angola, Limited (10 per cent) and TEPA (BLOCK 31) Limited, (a subsidiary of the Total Group) with 5 per cent.

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.

BP also operates Block 18, in which it has a 50 per cent equity. In Block 18 the Greater Plutonio Project is currently being developed.

BP's non-operated interests are in Block 15, operated by Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited (BP 26.67 per cent equity) and Block 17 operated by Total (BP 16.67 per cent equity).