London – Norway’s multinational oil and gas major Statoil ASA has agreed to farm out a 15% interest in Block 39 of the Kwanza pre-salt basin offshore Angola to WRG Angola Block 39 Ltd. (WRG). The deal is subject to approval by Sonangol EP, the Angolan Minister of Petroleum, and the license partners, according to the company.
Statoil operates Block 39 and retains a 40% interest after the farmout. The remaining interest is held by Sonangol (30%) and Total SA (15%) in addition to the interest held by WRG.
Gareth Burns, senior vice president for exploration strategy and business development at Statoil, commented in a company statement: “This is part of Statoil’s active portfolio management. The farm-down reflects the attractiveness of Statoil’s acreage in Angola and having WRG onboard allows us to share exploration risk, while retaining a significant working interest. WRG brings technical experience to a challenging geological setting, and we look forward to a productive relationship with them in Angola.”
According to Statoil, the Angolan continental shelf is the largest contributor to its oil production outside Norway. Angola yielded about 200,000 boe/d in equity production in 2013, about 28% of the company’s total international oil and gas production.
Statoil says it will start drilling in its Kwanza-operated portfolio during this year’s second quarter, with Dilolo-1 becoming the first high-impact prospect drilled on Block 39. After Dilolo, Statoil will operate its second commitment well on Block 38.
WRG acquired 15% interest in the Statoil-operated Block 38 from Sonangol. Following the acquisition, Statoil still holds a 55% interest with the remaining 30% held by Sonangol.
Commenting on the deal with Statoil, Genel Chief Executive Tony Hayward said: “This transaction provides a rare opportunity to enter into a low risk, multi-billion barrel resource play. It fits with our stated strategy of securing high quality exploration opportunities targeting very material resources, and further enhances the opportunity to add significant shareholder value through the drill bit in Africa. “Partnering with White Rose offers us a unique opportunity to secure a material interest in the exciting pre-salt play whilst managing our financial exposure to a level appropriate for a company of our size. White Rose brings significant directly relevant technical experience which together with Statoil, a first-class operator with longstanding regional knowledge and relationships, establishes a strong and exciting partnership with which to establish an entry position in Angola.”
WRG is a 50-50 joint venture of White Rose Energy Ventures and Genel Energy Plc.