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Angola: More deep-water success for BP and Eni

BP HAS extended its exploration success in the country's deep-water Block 31 with its 16th discovery. Italy's Eni has also made a discovery – in Block 15/06, where it is planning further wells. BP's Dione reservoir, some 390 km northwest of Luanda and 9 km southwest of the Juno-1 discovery, in the southern part of the block, was drilled in a water depth of 1,696 metres and reached a total depth of 3,272 metres below sea level. BP says tests indicate a flow rate under production conditions of over 5,000 barrels a day (b/d).

Block 31 is becoming an increasingly significant development for BP, the newest of the country's big-four production operators, having brought its first operated development – the five-field Greater Plutonio complex in Block 18 – on stream in October 2007 (the other three large offshore producers are Total, Chevron and ExxonMobil). In July, state-owned Sonangol gave BP the go-ahead for the country's first oil development in an ultra-deep-water block. BP is to develop a four-field complex in the northeast of Block 31, covering the Plutão, Saturno, Vênus and Marte fields. Plans call for first oil in 2011, with the plateau production rate of 150,000 (b/d) due to be reached the following year.

BP holds 26.7% of Block 31 and is operator. The other shareholders are Sonangol (20%); ExxonMobil (25%); StatoilHydro (13.33%), Marathon Oil (10%) and Total (5%).

Separately, Eni said it had made a discovery in the deep waters of Block 15/06. Ngoma-1, about 350 km from Luanda, was drilled in 1,421 metres of water to a total vertical depth of 3,383 metres, encountering an oil column of 127 metres in high-permeability Miocene sands. Eni said the find, near the recently discovered Sangos field, will be followed by other exploration wells on nearby structures, "providing significant potential to achieve synergies" in the development of the western area of block 15/06. The oil produced had a rating of 22.5°API – higher than expected.

Eni operates Block 15/06 with a 35% interest. The other shareholders are Sonangol (15%), SSI Fifteen (20%), Total (15%), Falcon Oil (5%), Petrobras (5%) and StatoilHydro (5%).

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