Deep Plays in Angola

A pre-salt play?

Angola’s oil industry continues to benefit from new oil discoveries and ever increasing oil production, according to a paper presented at the Deepwater Offshore West Africa Conference (DOWAC) by AAPG member and Public Service Award winner Tako Koning. This conference was held November 14 - 18 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Koning’s paper, “An Overview of the Geology and Geophysics of Angola’s Oil and Gas Fields and Related Industry Activity,” showed that in comparison to Nigeria, where one-third of its oil production is from the deepwater, two-thirds of Angola’s production is from the deepwater.

Accordingly, the deepwater oil play is vital to the long-term continuation of Angola’s oil industry.

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Angola’s oil industry continues to benefit from new oil discoveries and ever increasing oil production, according to a paper presented at the Deepwater Offshore West Africa Conference (DOWAC) by AAPG member and Public Service Award winner Tako Koning. This conference was held November 14 - 18 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Koning’s paper, “An Overview of the Geology and Geophysics of Angola’s Oil and Gas Fields and Related Industry Activity,” showed that in comparison to Nigeria, where one-third of its oil production is from the deepwater, two-thirds of Angola’s production is from the deepwater.

Accordingly, the deepwater oil play is vital to the long-term continuation of Angola’s oil industry.

Koning stated that within the past decade Angola has almost doubled its oil production to two million barrels per day. He explained that the Angola success story is due to:

  • World class petroleum working system, including excellent source and reservoir rocks.
  • Superb seismic imaging, which has led to an approximate 80 percent drilling success rate in the Lower Congo Basin.
  • Contractual stability – when a contract is signed between Sonangol, the state oil company and an oil company, it remains “fait accompli” during the life of the contract.
  • Political stability – despite Angola’s long civil war from independence in 1975 until 2002, Angola has experienced remarkable political stability with the same political party (MPLA) in power since independence and with President Eduardo dos Santos being head of state since 1979.

Koning also mentioned the minimally explored pre-salt oil play in Angola has captured the interest of the global oil industry.

In Brazil’s Santos Basin, giant size oil and gas discoveries continue to be made in the pre-salt sedimentary section. These discoveries will likely lead to Brazil’s current oil production of two million barrels of oil per day doubling to at least four million barrels of oil per day. During Cretaceous time, Angola was juxtaposed against Brazil (“joined at-the-hip”), thus it is possible that Angola’s oil production could likewise double if the play proves to be geologically and economically successful, he said.

The pre-salt play is not only relevant to Angola, but also is highly relevant to the deepwaters of Congo Brazaville and Gabon.

Koning also showed that West Africa is an important supplier of crude oil to the United States, which remains as the world’s largest oil importing country.

West Africa provides the United States with 15 percent of its import requirements.

Crude oil from West Africa is high quality low sulphur crude, he said, and is welcomed by refineries anywhere in the United States.

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