Block 20: TOTAL Takes FINAL Decision on Angola’s “Symbolic” Pre-Salt Reservoirs - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

Block 20: TOTAL Takes FINAL Decision on Angola’s “Symbolic” Pre-Salt Reservoirs

By Toyin Akinosho, Publisher

TOTALEnergiies, its partners and Angolan authorities, have announced the Final Investment Decision (FID) of the Kaminho deepwater project in the country’s deepwater Kwanza Basin.

The first large deepwater development in the Kwanza basin will develop the Cameia and Golfinho fields, located in 1,700 metre water-depth, 100 kilometres off the Angolan coastline.

Production start-up is expected in 2028, and although the peak output is a mere 70,000 barrels of oil per day, the Kaminho development is significant for the sheer difference in geological make up, compared with all the previous oil developments in deepwater West Africa.

It’s the first deepwater development targeting oil and gas reservoirs located below the salt layer (such accumulations are geologically termed ‘Pre-Salt’) in the region.

It is also the only development that has come to fruition, from the Angolan Kwanza Basin Pre-Salt drilling campaign of 2010-2014.

The idea of Pre-Salt Exploration in the Kwanza Basin came in the wake of the massive discoveries of hydrocarbon in Brazil’s deepwater Campos Basin, widely regarded as conjugate to Angola’s Kwanza Basin. But the Angolan twin has essentially shown signs of deformity, it could be argued.

Angolan officials often cite bid rounds as routes to increased output of hydrocarbons. Just like Egyptian officials, they open bid rounds again and again.

Between 2010 and 2015, over $9Billion was spent on exploration efforts in 11 acreages, by eight international companies chasing massive tanks of oil beneath the layer of salt in the ultradeepwater segment of the Kwanza basin.

The money covered licensing round payments in the 2010/2011 open acreage sale, predrilling and drilling expenses.

As of Christmas of 2015, twenty-one exploration wells had been drilled in the “Pre-Salt campaign” (in the Kwanza Basin, outside of the Congo Basin, where Angolan hydrocarbon is typically produced from). Nine of the wells were outright dry holes, six non-commercial, and five of them considered commercial finds, according to Sonangol, the state hydrocarbon company.

It was during this campaign that Cobalt International Energy, the now bankrupt American independent, encountered the reservoirs that have become the basis for the Kaminho development.

Over the years, the operatorship of Cameia and Golfinho discoveries have changed hands. In December 2018, TOTAL announced it had signed a sale and purchase agreement with Sonangol to acquire interests in Blocks 20/11 and 21/09, which housed the accumulations.

Today, partners for the Kaminho development include TOTALEnergies (40%), the Malaysian state hydrocarbon firm Petronas (40%) and Sonangol (20%).

The project comprises the conversion of a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) to a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit, which will be connected to a subsea production network. Designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate routine flaring, this FPSO is all-electric and associated gas will be fully reinjected into the reservoirs.

The Kaminho project will involve over 10Million man-hours in Angola, mainly with offshore operations and construction at local yards, TOTAL claims in the press release.

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