Chevron estimates Angola output at 500,000 bpd by 2000

Feb 10, 1998 01:00 AM

Jan. 6, 1998 The Chevron-owned Cabinda Oil Company (Cabcog) expects to produce 500,000 bpd by 2000, up more than 20 % from a current 422,000, according to company officials.
Cabgoc currently produces 422,000 bpd of Angola's total oil output of 750,000 bpd, a product which comes entirely from the shallow water on Block Zero - an area of 5,500 square km off the Cabinda northern coast.
Three quarters of this total comes from fields in the original Area A of Block Zero, which began production in 1968. However, Areas B and C, which first came on line in 1994 and 1997, now have a combined output of 84,000 bpd, and this is expected to climb steadily.
"We already have 4 platforms up and running in Area C and the installation of 2 new platforms at the Nemba and Lomba fields will be completed soon,'' said Henley. "We are due to get drilling rigs out to the new platforms in May and March respectively,'' he added.
CABGOC officials said that with the exception of some wells in the original Malonga field,which were the first to be exploited, all of the facilities were running at full capacity.
"We're actually putting more across most of our platforms than they were designed for,'' said Terry Hurst, operations superintendent of Takula field in Area A.
"Takula platform was meant to take 80,000 bpd but it's now shifting 130,000 bpd. It's very difficult, on the basis of a couple of test wells, to actually predict what production capacity will really be,'' he added.
Although CABGOC has a small plant at its Malonga onshore camp which produces butane for the local Cabindan market, most of the gas extracted from Block Zero is pressurised and used for gas lift.
The Takula field alone uses 150 mm cubic feet of gas each day. However, with its gas pressurising facilities already running at full capacity, CABGOC is reviewing the use of gas.
"For example, we won't have enough gas to use gas lift at the new Banzala field which is being drilled in Area A at the moment,'' explained Hurst. "We're looking into installing electric pumping systems for getting the oil out of the ground, and we're also exploring more onshore and commercial uses for the gas,'' he said.
CABGOC has set aside a $ 50 mm development budget for the Banzala field next year.
On a visit to CABGOC's facilities on Dec. 12, U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright highlighted the importance of Angolan oil to the United States. "Angolan oil already accounts for 7 % of U.S. imports, three times as much as our imports from Kuwait in early 1990. We expect that number to grow dramatically in the years ahead,'' she said in a speech delivered on the Takula platform.
In the short term, that increased production is expected to be boosted by CABGOC's concession on Block 14, to the west of Block Zero.
The company acquired a 31 % share in the block in 1995 and started exploratory drilling in 1996.
"We are now in the planning stage for production from the Cuito field in Block 14. I expect production to begin in late 1998 with an initial capacity of 50,000 bpd,'' said Henley.
The company also has its eye on the four ultra deep blocks to the west of existing deep water blocks 15 to 18, which the Angolan government is expected to allocate in the second half of 1998.
"We hope to get a controlling share in one of the blocks and minor shares in one or two others, however, it's not as simple here as it is in the United States. It's not just a case of the highest bidder wins,'' said Henley.
No seismic tests have been carried out in the ultra deep blocks. However, following promising discoveries in the neighbouring deep water blocks, particularly by Elf in Block 17, competition for the new concessions is very stiff.

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