We continue to be pioneers in technology development
Back in 2014, when talks first got underway with Sonangol about awarding Block 48, I was in charge of strategy and portfolio management at Total E&P AngolaTotal AngolaShow more. Our position was that we needed to begin exploration right away to assess the block’s potential. But we didn’t sign the concession agreement until 2018, after the negotiating period had dragged on for some time, because the block’s configuration and the water depths involved — from 2,200 to nearly 4,000 meters! — made the contractual arrangements very complex. You have to remember that water depths of that magnitude are unprecedented in oil field operation; only a few gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico really qualify as ultra-deep offshore projects. In fact, the Ondjaba exploration well that we’re planning to drill this year will be the deepest in the world, in 3,627 meters of water. And if we make any commercial discoveries, we’ll need to develop an entirely new range of subsea equipment like ROVs* and risers** to bring Block 48 on stream, because existing technology simply won’t be up to the task. Total E&P AngolaTotal AngolaShow more has always shown a pioneer spirit that has served us well in successfully developing Blocks 3, 17 and 32. We’re still pioneers today, devising the technology of the future, and we’re embarking on our exploration of Block 48 as part of a long-term strategy backed by our excellent relationship with the Angolan government and our partners at Sonangol.
* ROV: Remotely operated vehicle, used underwater.
** Riser: A line used to bring offshore oil or gas from a wellhead on the seabed to a floating platform.
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