Valaris DS-9 drillship; Source: ANPG

ExxonMobil hits oil offshore Angola and takes steps to search for more hydrocarbons

U.S.-headquartered energy giant ExxonMobil has not only made a new oil discovery in Block 15 off the coast of Angola but also inked a letter of agreement for the recovery of additional research costs with the country’s National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANPG). This move is expected to pave the way for more exploration drilling, safeguarding cost recovery within the scope of the incremental production project.

Valaris DS-9 drillship; Source: ANPG

Located at a water depth of 1,200 meters, the Likembe-01 well in the Kizomba B development area in Block 15 is operated by ExxonMobil in partnership with Azule Energy, Equinor, and Sonangol. This well, which enabled the U.S. energy heavyweight to strike black gold, was drilled between February and April 2024. The well has crossed reservoirs of Miocene age and reached a final depth of 3,013 meters, within the perimeter of the Kizomba B development area.

According to ANPG, Likembe-01 is the first well drilled within the scope of the preliminary agreements of the incremental production project, aiming to provide incentives to investors to produce additional volumes in concessions currently in production, such as fundamental strategy for the sustainable development of the Angolan oil sector.

Under the supervision of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas (MIREMPET), ANPG has been working towards obtaining approval of the incremental production project in line with development objectives of sustainability and improvement of operational efficiency in the petroleum sector.

As a result, the National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency, through Paulino Jerónimo, President of the ANPG’s Board of Directors, signed a letter of agreement with Katrina Fisher, ExxonMobil’s General Director, on May 7 in Luanda to encourage investors to drill more exploration wells. The ceremony was witnessed by ANPG Executive Directors, Alcides Andrade, Nicola Mvuayi, and Ana Miala, among other managers and sector experts.

The incremental production project aims to maximize the recovery of hydrocarbons in the oil concessions in production within the maritime zone of Angola, which involves adding new oil and expanding the economic attractiveness of new projects in mature fields and areas not yet developed.

Therefore, further hydrocarbon exploration activities in Block 15 are said to contribute to mitigating the sharp decline in production, ensuring the identification of additional resources that are commercially and economically viable in the light of the current production sharing agreement.

Recently, ExxonMobil exercised a six-month-priced option for the Valaris DS-9 drillship in Angola. The work scope that covers this extension is scheduled to begin in January 2025 in direct continuation of the existing firm program. However, two more six-month options remain on the table.

The announcement about the discovery in Angola comes months after ExxonMobil made another oil discovery at the Stabroek block, using a drillship owned by Stena Drilling.