Sonangol EP and partners have begun production, via an early production system, at the Mafumeira Sul development, the Angolan company said on November 10. The project, in Block 0, began producing on October 31.
Early output will be 10,000 bpd, ramping up to “full operation in the coming months”, Sonangol continued.
Chevron is the operator of the development, via its Cabinda Gulf Oil Co. (CABGOC) subsidiary, with a 39.2% stake, while Sonangol has a 41% stake. Total and Eni have 10% and 9.8% respectively.
Operations have begun on the South Wellhead Platform, Sonangol said. Start-up was an “important step” for the Angolan oil sector and for increasing domestic production.
Block 0 is offshore the Angolan exclave of Cabinda. The project is around 24 km off the coast of Malongo, in around 60 metres of water.
According to Chevron, the development includes a central processing facility (CPF), two wellhead platforms, 120 km of subsea pipelines, 34 producing wells and 16 water injection wells. Mafumeira Sul has design capacity of 150,000 bpd of liquids and 350 mmcf (9.9 mcm) per day of gas. The company declined to comment when asked for confirmation on the start at Mafumeira Sul.
Gas will be delivered to the Angola LNG plant, in Soyo. Sonangol did not reveal when it expected full production to be reached but previous statements have indicated this might take until 2018.
Chevron announced the final investment decision (FID) for the development in February 2013, saying it would cost US$5.6 billion. At that point, the development was due to start up in 2015. Mafumeira Norte began producing in 2009 and, as of 2013, was producing 40,000 bpd.
The Nemba Enhanced Secondary Recovery Stage 1 and 2 project began on the block in the first quarter of 2015, providing around 7,000 bpd of gross output and eliminating routine flaring at the South Nemba platform. According to Sonangol’s 2015 annual report, production from Block 0 averaged 253,000 bpd during last year, of which 85,000 bpd was net to Chevron.
The start comes at a time when Angola is suffering as a result of low oil revenues, but will be seen as another obstacle for OPEC in achieving its target of a production cut, due to be discussed at the end of the month in Vienna.
Signs of strain at Sonangol have emerged recently, with reports suggesting the company has struggled to make payments to foreign companies and its own employees. Isabel dos Santos, the president’s daughter, was named to run Sonangol in June, sparking concerns about transparency.