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TotalEnergies, Inpex sell stakes in Angola oil fields

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(S&P Global Platts) France’s TotalEnergies and Japan’s Inpex Corporation have signed a deal to offload their non-operated interests in Angola Block 14 and Block 14K to Angolan Company Somoil, both companies said Jan. 17.

Somoil will acquire the company Angola Block 14 B.V., owned by TotalEnergies Holdings International B.V. (50.01%) and Inpex Angola Block 14 Ltd (49.99%).

Angola Block 14 B.V. had a non-operated interest in a handful of mature oil assets offshore Angola, namely the offshore Kuito and Lianzi oil fields.

Kuito was Angola’s first every deepwater oil field, but production stopped in late-2013. Block 14 also contains the Benguela Belize–Lobito Tomboco, Belize North, Benguela North, Tombua, Landana, Lucapa Field and the Malange Field.

This deal will see Somoil get access to these offshore blocks, which have been producing since 1999. Net production from Angola Block 14 B.V. was 9,000 b/d of oil equivalent in 2021, the statement added.

Angola’s crude production has been on a downward spiral in the past decade.

The country, which typically produces heavy but sweet crude, has traditionally been among the top suppliers to China. But key fields like Cabinda, Dalia, Nemba, Girassol, Hungo, Kissanje, Pazflor and Plutonio have all declined and matured at the same time.

“By divesting this interest in mature fields, TotalEnergies is implementing its strategy to high-grade its oil portfolio, focusing on assets with low costs and low emissions,” said Henri-Max Ndong-Nzue, Senior Vice President Africa of TotalEnergies Exploration & Production.

But Ndong-Nxe said despite this deal, the French company is focused on retaining its position as one of Angola’s leading oil operators.

The CLOV, Dalia, Girassol and Pazflor production hubs, operated by Total, all lie in Block 17, and the country is Total’s second largest in terms of oil output, after the UAE.

Total’s equity share of Angolan upstream production averaged 212,000 boe/d in 2020. It operates blocks 17, 31, 16, 48, 20/11, 21/09, and has stakes in blocks 0, 14, 14K, and Angola LNG.

New startups

Angola used to be Africa’s second-largest oil producer until early 2021 but has its seen output tumble to 17-year lows. Crude output has averaged around 1.13 million b/d in 2021, down from a 2008 peak of 1.9 million b/d, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

But there has been a slew of new startups, including five in the past eight months: TotalEnergies’ 40,000 b/d Zinia Phase 2 and 40,000 b/d CLOV Phase 2, BP’s 30,000 b/d Platina field, and Eni’s 15,000 b/d Cabaca North and 10,000 b/d Cuica projects.

The Angolan government has said these recent startups could help Angolan oil production reach 1.3 million b/d in the next three years.

The West African producer is now banking heavily on BP, Eni, TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil, all of which have recently resumed exploration and drilling work.

TotalEnergies is expected to drill the Ondjaba-1 wildcat exploration well in Block 48, and it is also finalizing the Chissonga field development in Block 16.

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