Expanding Onshore Oil Exploration in Angola

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Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company, is poised to initiate drilling in its first onshore oil well in Luanda, signaling a crucial development in its production strategy aimed at achieving growth by 2027. The installation of the drilling rig is nearly complete, signifying the revival of oil and natural gas production in the Kwanza Onshore Basin, located in Cabo Ledo, Quissama municipality, Luanda province. This marks a significant milestone as oil exploration in the Kwanza Onshore Basin ceased 27 years ago after operations in Block KON-11 were deactivated, situated approximately 120 kilometers from Luanda, Angola’s capital.

The potential of this reservoir is substantial, estimated to hold around 66 million barrels of light oil at a depth of approximately 750 meters, according to Ricardo Van-Deste, Chairman of Sonangol’s Executive Committee for Business, Exploration, and Production. To initiate this operation, a minimum investment of $10 million USD will be required. The primary objective of drilling in the Kwanza Onshore Basin is to assess the reservoir’s potential, providing an opportunity for Sonangol to revitalize its onshore exploration and production activities.

Sebastião Martins, Chairman of Sonangol’s Board of Directors, emphasized that if this drilling endeavor proves successful, it could significantly boost the country’s oil and gas production capacity. All necessary preparations, including human and logistical aspects, have been completed to commence drilling within a week, with equipment testing remaining the final step. Drilling onshore is generally considered more cost-effective than offshore operations, contingent on the specific requirements of each operation.

Additionally, Sonangol is actively preparing for exploration in a second reservoir in the same region, furthering its commitment to onshore oil and gas prospects. The consortium responsible for executing operations in this block includes Sonangol Pesquisa e Produção (30%) as the operator, Brites Oil & Gás (25%), Grupo Simples Oil, and Atlas Petroleum Exploration Worldwide (each holding 20%), with Ómega Risk Solutions Angola holding a 5% stake.

Historically, Sonangol has predominantly conducted oil production in shallow and deep offshore waters, often entailing higher costs compared to onshore drilling.

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