Exploration Update - Angola

Angola: Pre-Salt Discovery
This article appeared in Vol. 13, No. 3 - 2016


Zalophus 1 pre-salt discovery on Block 20/11 offshore Angola. In the most significant non-Mauritania/Senegal well this year, and in fact the only West African discovery outside that area, Cobalt have announced a further pre-salt discovery on Block 20/11 offshore Angola. New field wildcat Zalophus 1 encountered gas and condensate, and is Cobalt’s sixth pre-salt discovery offshore Angola and also its third discovery on Block 20. The well, which had a TD of 5,170m, is located about 120 km south-west of Luanda in over 1,800m of water and is about 10 km south-west of Colbalt’s 2013 Lontra discovery, which was reported to have resources estimated at between 700 MMboe and 1.1 Bboe. 

Zalophus 1 was drilled by the Petroserv SA SSV Catarina semi-sub between January and March 2016. The rig then moved on to drill Golfinho 1, also on Block 20/11, the last exploration well commitment the company has on the block. Cobalt is considered by many to have opened up the Kwanza pre-salt play with its discovery in 2012 of the 300–500 MMbo Cameia field in Block 21, to the south of Block 20, and has had a successful string of discoveries in the play since then. The play has proved to have more gas than initially expected and is therefore not a direct analog to the pre-salt offshore Brazil, but substantial quantities of hydrocarbons have nonetheless been discovered. 

Sonangol is acquiring Cobalt’s 40% equity in Block 20/11 and Block 21/09 for a total cash consideration of US$ 1.75 billion and all costs going forward are being borne by Sonangol; however, Cobalt is still acting as operator at present. Once this transaction is formally completed, equity in Block 20/11 will be held by Sonangol, which will become the operator, with BP holding 30%.


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