BP, Partners Get Nod to Develop Angola's Block 31

Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola, Sonangol E.P., has authorized BP and its co-venturers to develop a series of deepwater oil discoveries in offshore Angola's Block 31.

The Block 31 development program is based on a standardized development concept, which is intended to reduce cycle time, optimize capital and maximize operating efficiency through standardized design, fabrication and commissioning.

The first project in the program will comprise the Plutao, Saturno, Venus and Marte (PSVM) fields which lie in the northeast sector of Block 31, in a water depth of approximately 2000 meters, some 400 kilometers northwest of Luanda. Construction work is expected to start during 2008 with first oil planned in 2011 and building to a plateau of about 150,000 barrels per day by 2012.

PSVM will comprise a converted hull floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) with 1,600,000 barrels of storage capacity; 48 production, gas and water injection plus infill wells; 15 manifolds and associated subsea equipment; 170 kilometres of flowlines and 95 kilometres of control umbilicals.

The operator (BP) and its co-venturers have announced fifteen discoveries in Block 31 to date. Full development will comprise multiple hubs similar to the first development (PSVM). The second development will be in the SE area of Block 31 and is in the planning phase.

BP Exploration (Angola) Limited as operator holds 26.67%. The other interest owners in Block 31 are Esso Exploration and Production Angola (Block 31) Limited (25%), Sonangol EP (20%), Statoil Angola A.S. (13.33%), Marathon International Petroleum Angola Block 31 Limited (10%) and TEPA (Block 31) Limited with 5%. Sonangol E.P. is the concessionaire.

Commenting on the approvals, Andy Inglis, Chief Executive of BP Exploration and Production said, "Approval by Sonangol for the program of developments in Block 31 supports BP's production profile out to the end of the next decade and beyond. It demonstrates the scale of the resource base in Block 31."

"This is the first time Sonangol has approved a program of contracts in this way, not just for PSVM but for subsequent developments in a block with great potential," added Jose Patricio, president of BP Angola. "It confirms Angola's confidence in BP and its partners."