More oil off Angola

July 2, 1999, 01:45 CEST

A fifth deepwater oil discovery was recently announced by operator Elf in block 17 off Angola, in which Statoil has an interest.

Called Tulipa 1, this find lies about 15 kilometres from the existing Dalia field.

"This is a relatively modest discovery," says Jon Bakken, head of Statoil's Angolan operation. "It could be developed as a satellite to Dalia."

A development concept for the latter is due to be chosen towards the end of 1999, but no decision to proceed will be made until late next year.

Elf is now in full swing with a new exploration well on the Orquidea prospect close to the Rosa discovery in block 17, using the Jim Cunningham rig.

Mr Bakken expects one-three exploration wells to be drilled on the acreage during the rest of this year.

Plans call for the first production well on the Girassol field in block 17 to be spudded in 1,300 metres of water from the new Pride Africa drill ship during October-November.

This development is based on subsea wells tied back to a production ship, with the hull for the latter currently under construction at a South Korean yard. A contract for topside outfitting and hook-up is due to be awarded in July.

Scheduled to come on stream in 2001, Girassol - the first commercial deepwater oil discovery off Angola - is estimated to contain roughly 700 million barrels in recoverable reserves.

Meanwhile, operator Exxon has completed an exploration well on the Xikomba prospect in Angolan block 15. Its results have yet to be confirmed.

No further drilling plans have been drawn up for 1999 in this block, which currently embraces five discoveries.

Statoil is due to spend just over NOK 200 million this year on exploration activities off Angola, where the group has been involved since 1990.