Exploration Analysis

Apart from the Niger Delta Basin, Angola offers the best petroleum exploration and development potential of the entire West African region. From the first discovery in 1955 to year-end 1994, 2.3 billion barrels of oil have been produced; remaining proven reserves are estimated to be 3.0 billion barrels of oil and 1.8 TCF of gas. Production in 1992 was 555,000 BOPD.

Significant discoveries have been made in established producing areas by Chevron, Texaco and Elf, while Ranger Oil of Calgary successfully extended the productive trend to the south into undrilled areas. Major international players including Chevron, Shell, Elf and Exxon hold all of the high-potential deepwater acreage to the west of existing production. Open acreage in the south end of the Lower Congo Basin and in the Kwanza and Namibe basins provides intriguing possibilities for companies prepared to undertake expensive, high risk exploration programs.

Opportunities for the new investor in Angola’s hydrocarbon industry appear to be limited to exploration ventures. All of the existing production is controlled by major operators such as Chevron, Elf and Texaco, companies that are well able to develop their own fields and undertake enhanced recovery programs without financial or technical assistance. Lower-risk field development and incremental recovery opportunities may arise at some point in the future in Fina’s onshore fields in both the Kwanza and Lower Congo basins.

The economics for exploration and development programs in Angola are extremely attractive, as the result of favorable fiscal terms, premium quality oil, and rapid field development schedules. Because Angola is not a member of OPEC, it is free to export all of its production. Although internal infrastructure is limited, Angola is quite easily serviced from Gabon or Nigeria.

Following independence, a mass exodus of citizens of Portuguese descent led to a domestic shortage of skilled technical and professional staff, which continues to the present. Consequently, the positions for oil operations in Angola are almost entirely filled by expatriates.

For more information contact:

Leslie Sears
Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.
500, 736- 8th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta
T2P 1H4

Phone: (403) 218-1618
Fax: (403) 262-9135

This summary, part of Petrel Robertson’s 1995 summary of exploration and development opportunities in 31 countries around the world, has not been updated. Some of the information, particularly relating to political and economic issues, is thus out of date. It is included, however, to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Petrel’s work in each of these nations.

Copyright © 2014 Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd.