In 2023, Angola earned the title – along with Nigeria – as the largest hydrocarbon drilling market in sub-Saharan Africa, and may surpass the West African country in 2024 as drilling campaigns extend into the second half of next year. Aligned with the government’s aim to boost oil output to 1.3 million barrels per day, these programs could position Angola as the leading crude oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years. The Angola Oil & Gas (AOG) 2024 Conference & Exhibition, returning to Luanda next October for its fifth edition, will shed light on new and ongoing drilling activities and the leading operators and drilling contractors behind them.
International energy company ExxonMobil is investing $200 million to drill an offshore frontier exploration well in the Namibe Basin by the end of 2024. Partnering with national oil company Sonangol, the campaign aims to uncover new oil and gas reserves in Angola’s underexplored acreage. If successful, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas estimates a $15 billion in costs for evaluating and developing a significant discovery, in which production would commence in 2030. The drilling campaign has also sparked interest in Namibia’s portion of the basin, unlocking additional exploration opportunities in the wider region.
Offshore drilling contractor Shelf Drilling has secured a one-year contract extension for its Shelf Drilling Tenacious jack-up rig, operating offshore Angola. The extension, granted until November 2024, is a continuation of its contract with Chevron’s Angola subsidiary, Cabinda Gulf Oil Company. While financial details remain undisclosed, the Dubai-based company reported a contracted backlog of $2.8 billion in Q1 2023, with a utilization rate of 94% for its fleet. The Shelf Drilling Tenacious, a 2007-built Baker Marine Pacific 375 rig, features a maximum drilling depth of approximately 30,000 feet.
Last September, international oil and gas services company KCA Deutag secured a $60-million, one-year contract extension for drilling operations and maintenance services on two offshore platforms in Angola. The undisclosed client will benefit from KCA Deutag’s core drilling operations, maintenance, crane operations, materials management and equipment rental services. The contract reflects the company’s successful work in Angola, which includes activities on ExxonMobil’s Kizomba TLP-A platform, which commenced operations in April 2022.
Aiming to become a leading operator in Angola, Sonangol announced last September the launch of drilling and appraisal preparations on Block KON11 in the onshore Kwanza Basin. The block is home to the historic Tobias field, a brownfield development. As a result, Sonangol anticipates early oil production upon drilling success and is implementing a strategy involving modern drilling technologies – possibly including horizontal drilling – aiming to maximize the original oil in place in the dormant field.
Azule Energy, a bp and Eni joint venture, and Norwegian energy company Equinor have secured a Production Sharing Agreement for Angola’s offshore Block 31/21, covering a 4,500-km2 deepwater area in the Lower Congo Basin. Azule aims to initiate the campaign in 2024, planning to drill one well within the initial five-year exploration period of the agreement.