Total has started up its Kaombo project, in Angola’s Block 32. Oil is flowing to the Kaombo Norte floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit, while the second FPSO, Kaombo Sul, will start in 2019.
The Kaombo Norte has 115,000 bpd of capacity, the same as the second, giving total production from the project of 230,000 bpd. Gas from the project will go to the Angola LNG plant.
Both FPSOs are converted VLCCs, an unusual move for Total, which has typically preferred to build custom vessels. Conversion came at a much lower cost, though, and played an important role in bringing costs down from US$20 billion to US$16 billion.
NewsBase Research (NBR) expects production from this first Kaombo FPSO to reach 40,000 bpd over 2018.
Total said 59 wells would be drilled on the project, of which 22 had been drilled by the end of 2017.
Kaombo Norte will produce from the Gengibre, Gindungo and Caril fields. In mid-July, Reuters reported a new crude was being offered – Gindungo – with two cargoes available in September. Kaombo Sul will produce from the Canela, Mostarda and Louro. All told, the six fields cover 800 square km in the central and southern part of the block.
Total’s president of exploration and production, Arnaud Breuillac, said the start of Kaombo was a great milestone for the company. “Developing the estimated 650 million barrels of reserves will contribute to the group’s growing production and cashflow in Africa. Total is proud to build on its deep offshore expertise to operate the latest major project coming on stream in Angola, which will account for 15% of the country’s oil production.”
Total is the operator of Block 32, with a 30% stake, while Sonangol P&P has 30%, Sonangol Sinopec International 32 has 20%, Esso Exploration and Production Angola (Overseas) 15% and Galp Energia Overseas Block 32 5%.
Breuillac went on to say the company would relaunch exploration in Angola, citing Block 48. Total was tipped for the block in December 2017 and this award was gazetted in May, with a risk service agreement. The block was given to Sonangol alone in 2016 but the decision to divide it 50:50 with Total should allow work to begin. The state-owned Angolan company is cash strapped and the state had to bail it out in 2017.
While Angola is a core part of Total’s portfolio, a slowdown in projects has taken its toll on production. In 2017, Angola’s equity production was 229,000 boepd, down from 243,000 boepd in 2016.
A final investment decision (FID) was taken in April 2014. Water depths on the fields range from 1,400 to 1,900 metres. In addition to the six fields that are part of the core development, further discoveries have been made on the block. Recently, talk has suggested Total may be considering adding the Alho-Cominhos-Cominhos East (ACCE) to the Kaombo facilities.