Photo: Valaris DS-9 drillship; Source: Valaris

ExxonMobil makes new discovery in Angola’s waters

U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has made a new discovery in waters offshore Angola after drilling an exploration well using a Valaris-owned drillship.

The National Agency for Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG), ExxonMobil, and the Angola Block 15 partners on Monday announced a new discovery at the Bavuca South-1 exploration well.

As reported by ExxonMobil, the well encountered 30 meters (98 feet) of high-quality, hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone. It is located approximately 365 kilometres northwest off the coast of Luanda and was drilled in 1,100 meters (3,608 feet) of water by the Valaris DS-9 drillship, which has been working for the oil major since July 2022. The contract end date is set for July 2024, according to Valaris’ latest fleet status report.

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Liam Mallon, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Company, said: “Our development strategy continues to deliver, providing affordable energy to meet increasing global demand while reducing emissions. In Angola, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 74 per cent since 2016.”

The Bavuca South-1 well is part of the Angola Block 15 redevelopment project. As the Block’s operator, ExxonMobil is leading the installation of new technology and a multi-year drilling program aimed at producing approximately 40,000 barrels of oil per day to help offset natural production declines.

There have been 17 previous discoveries on Block 15: Hungo, Kissanje, Marimba and Dikanza in 1998; Chocalho and Xikomba in 1999; Mondo, Saxi and Batuque in 2000; Mbulumbumba, Vicango and Mavacola in 2001; Reco Reco in 2002; and Clochas, Kakocha, Tchihumba and Bavuca in 2003. This means that there has been no new discovery on this block for nearly 20 years.

ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Limited is the operator of Block 15 and holds a 36 per cent interest. BP Exploration (Angola) Limited holds 24 per cent, ENI Angola Exploration B.V. holds 18 per cent, Equinor Angola Block 15 A.S. holds 12 per cent and Sonangol P&P holds 10 per cent. The National Agency for Petroleum, Gasand Biofuels (ANPG) is the Block 15 Concessionaire.