Situated on the oil-rich continental shelf of Africa’s west coast, Angola’s offshore oilfield has been divided into about 50 shallow, deep and ultra-deepwater blocks, a number set to double thanks to the investment promotion strategy put in place by the National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency between 2019 and 2025.
The country’s prolific basins has in the past attracted the investor appetite of global oil companies which include supermajors, TotalEnergies, Chevron, ExxonMobil, bp, and Eni.
With its oil industry dominated by the upstream sector, Angola currently produces sweet crude oil, characterized by low volumes of sulfur that is highly suited to the processing of light refined petroleum products, such as gasoline and high-quality diesel. At current output of 1.13 million barrels per day (bpd), with an infrastructure that can support over 2 million bpd, there is a significant potential for increase in output, in light of recent reforms passed, aimed at increasing investment in the sector.
Having developed into one of the continent’s leading deepwater players, the majority of Angola’s oil output is derived from the offshore fields of Cabinda and the Lower Congo Basin in water depths ranging from 300 meters to over 1,200 meters. Furthermore, with estimates of approximately 420 million barrels of oil equivalent, the TotalEnergies’ Cameia-Golfinho deepwater development in Block 20/11 and Block 21/09 represents one of Angola’s most promising deepwater prospects. The Cameia-Golfinho deepwater development project is one of seven major deepwater discoveries made in Block 20/11. The French supermajor has also issued a tender for the development of a new 100,000 bpd Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) facility to service the Golfinho Field, for which the Final Investment Decision (FID) is expected next year with operations scheduled for 2027.
Meanwhile, having led a series of discoveries in Block 15/06 in 2019, Italy’s Eni is seeking the deployment of an FPSO to restart exploration and revive block 15/06’s output, in which its Ndungu and Agogo fields hold an estimated 800 million and 205 million barrels of oil equivalent, respectively. FID for the Agogo field vessel is set to take place in 2023, while operations are scheduled for 2026, with the project expected to produce approximately 42,000 bpd of crude oil and condensate. Eni’s Ndungu project, which has an estimated production rate of 20,000 bpd, will also see additional investment that will boost Eni’s exploration of the block this year.
Additionally, Angola’s Block 23, which contains the deepwater Azul-1 exploration well, represents a highly prospective exploration and appraisal opportunity, attracting the interest of oil and gas independent Afentra. The firm has secured a 40% non-operated interest in the field this year, together with a 20% non-operated interest in Block 3/05 – a block that consists of eight mature producing fields. Another of Sonangol’s farm-out successes this year materialized in the $335 million deal signed with Somoil and Sirius Petroleum in May to enter an additional two deepwater producing blocks in the Kwanza Basin. These blocks are projected to contain significant untapped reserves, securely positioning the southern African country to increase its domestic oil production levels.
Despite proven oil reserves of 8.2 billion barrels of oil and status as sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producing country, the Republic of Angola has, however, experienced a decline in oil production in recent years, which has seen the government implement a series of policy reforms aimed at increasing investment in exploration and production. These include the introduction of a six-year licensing round program between 2019 and 2025 by the country’s national concessionaire, the Agency for Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG), enabling the country to accurately map its oil and gas reserves for the purpose of building investor confidence, catalyzing growth and monetizing oil and gas discoveries.