Licence stake off Angola

April 16, 1999, 01:00 CEST

A 40 per cent interest in Angolan offshore block 31 has been awarded to BP Amoco and Statoil.

The group will take a third of this holding, and the remaining two-thirds goes to BP Amoco along with the operatorship.

A final production sharing agreement is due to be signed in the Angolan capital of Luanda within four weeks.

The other partners in the block will be Angola's state-owned Sonangol with 20 per cent, Exxon 25 per cent and Marathon 10 per cent. A final five per cent remains to be allocated.

"We have considerable expectations for this block," says Jon Bakken, who heads Statoil's operations in the south-west African country.

He adds that the block lies in ultradeep water in the 1,700-2,000 metre range. Since exploring and producing in such depths is expensive, any discovery must be relatively large to be commercial.

Block 31 lies west of block 15 at the northern end of Angola's continental shelf. Statoil already has interests in Angolan blocks 15 and 17, where substantial oil reserves have been proven.

Development has begun on the Girassol field in block 17, which production is due to start in the second half of 2001.