Angola’s state-run oil giant Sonangol, recently taken over by the president’s daughter, has announced a gas discovery in the offshore Kwanza Basin that could hold 813 million barrels of oil equivalent, news agencies report.
The discovery is in Block 20/11 and BP Plc holds an interest in this block along with the Angolan state company.
According to Sonangol, the block holds an estimated 313 million barrels of condensate and 2.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Despite Angola’s dire economic straits, this is the seventh recent discovery.
This follows up on the initial news of the discovery, announced in April by Sonangol and later in May by U.S. operator Cobalt. Cobalt had unveiled the discovery of condensates and natural gas in the Zalophus #1 well in Block 20 offshore Angola, in the sixth pre-salt discovery offshore Angola, and the third such in this same block.
The new estimates are significantly higher than earlier estimates. When the initial discovery was made in late April, Sonangol had stated: “The test results confirm the presence of gas and condensate, and estimated post-drilling resources of 139 million barrels of condensate and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, for a total of 570 million barrels of oil equivalent”.
Cobalt is currently the operator of the block with a 40 percent stake in partnership, while state-run Sonangol holds 30 percent and BP Exploration Angola holds 30 percent.
In April, Sonangol also discovered huge reserves of oil and natural gas, which according to initial estimates could produce up to 2 million barrels a day for three years.
Sonangol has not given the country any revenues since January, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Wednesday on the sidelines of the Council of Ministers economic meeting, the Associated Press reported.
Africa’s largest oil producer—having recently overtaken Nigeria, whose production has dropped due to a resurgence of Niger Delta militancy—is reeling from low oil prices, with oil comprising about 45 percent of its GDP and over 95 percent of its exports.
Earlier in June, the president appointed his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, to run Sonangol amid much controversy.