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Angola: Deep-water gambles pay off for Eni and Total

TWO DEEP-water licences, for which groups headed by Eni and Total paid signature bonuses of $0.902bn and $1.1bn, respectively, in 2006, are living up to their "golden block" reputations. Eni has made its third discovery in licence 15/06, from only four wells drilled, and says the latest could prove to be the largest in the block so far. Meanwhile, Total has made a discovery with the first well in its 17/06 licence.

Eni's Cabaça Norte-1 well, drilled in the northeastern part of Block 15/06, found reservoir sands with "excellent" characteristics and tested crude at 6,500 barrels a day (b/d) – the limit of the surface equipment available. Eni said immediately that Cabaça Norte could form the basis of a second production hub in the block and that it will now drill structures nearby. Water-depth at Cabaça Norte is less extreme than elsewhere in the block, at 500 metres.

Eni is already planning a production hub in the northwestern part of Block 15/06, where it has the Sangos and N'Goma discoveries at water-depths of, respectively, 1,349 metres and 1,424 metres. The firm said the project is "in the pre-development phase with studies and appraisal drilling taking place".

Interests in the 15/06 licence are Eni, 35%, Sonangol-Sinopec, 20%, Sonangol, 15%, Total, 15%, Falcon, 5%, Petrobras, 5%, and Statoil, 5%. The area is the compulsory-relinquishment part of ExxonMobil's Block 15, where 17 discoveries have been made and reserves amount to 5.0bn barrels of oil equivalent.

Total's discovery in Block 17/06 – the compulsory-relinquishment part of Block 17, which the company also operates – was made with the Gardenia-1 well, drilled in the northwestern part of the area. The well, in 977 metres of water, discovered two reservoirs, of which one flowed 4,000 b/d of 25°API crude. Total said a new drilling campaign in the block will start in the fourth quarter. If Gardenia proves commercial, development as a tie-back to the Clov (Cravo, Lírio, Orquídea and Violéta) project, nearby but in Block 17, might be possible. The company is in the bidding process for Clov facilities.

Block 17/06 is held by Total, 30%, Sonangol, 30%, Sonangol-Sinopec, 27.5%, Angola Consulting Resources, 5%, Falcon, 5%, and Partex, 2.5%.

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