Total will drill an ultra deepwater well off the coast of Angola that will be the deepest in the world, Bloomberg reports, citing Maersk Drilling, which has been hired for the drilling operation.
The well will be more than two miles below the surface and deeper than the previous record holder, also in a Total-operated field: the Raya-1 in Uruguay, which was completed in 2016.
The project is bound to be welcomed by Angola, which has been struggling to reverse a persistent decline in its oil production, chiefly as a result of underinvestment. Even so, Angola is still the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with an output of almost 1.4 million bpd, according to U.S. government data from last year. This is much lower than Angola’s production capacity.
The country has proven resources of 9 billion barrels of oil and 11 trillion cu ft of natural gas. Most oil production comes from offshore fields. Oil revenues account for 37 percent of GDP.
Total last December acquired interests in two new ones from Sonangol: 50 percent in Block 20/11, in which it partnered with BP and the state Angolan company, and 80 percent in Block 21/09, where it will work with Sonangol.
The record-breaking well will be drilled in another block, though. That’s Block 48, which is one of three that Total has hired the Danish drilling company for. Two of these are offshore Angola and the third one in neighboring Namibia.
Total is one of the few companies still ready and willing to invest in the West African country, where high costs have driven others away. Meanwhile, the national oil company Sonangol is trying to reform after a radical change in government. For decades dominated by the elite around Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, now the company may end up on a privatization list drafted by the new president, Joao Lourenco.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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