Africa Oil & Gas: Total advances with new ultra deep-water project offshore Angola

total-license-extended-for-algerian-tin-fouye-tabankort-gas-field-768x510France’s Total has got the ball rolling on a fresh new ultra-deepwater project in Block 32 off Angola.

The three-field development is set to be tied back to one of the two Kaombo floating production, storage and offloading vessels, also located in Block 32, the first of which is due on stream shortly.

Industry sources said Total has approached subsea players with a request for interest covering the Alho-Cominhos-Cominhos East (ACCE) project, which will involve the Alho, Cominhos and Cominhos East discoveries.

Located in the far northeast of Block 32, these fields are due to be tied back to the Kaombo North FPSO, which is due on stream this summer.

One project watcher said the market approach covers the subsea, umbilical, riser and flowline aspects of the project, implying that an inquiry for the subsea production system will emerge at a later date.

However, another source said the ACCE inquiry includes the option for contractors to offer an integrated approach to the subsea offering.

“I thought that what has come out did allow a response to include both elements (SURF and SPS),” this source suggested.

Interested parties are thought to include McDermott International of the US, Italy’s Saipem, UK-listed Subsea 7 and UK-based TechnipFMC, with GE-controlled Baker Hughes, Norway’s Aker Solutions and OneSubsea set to be included if the integrated route is eventually chosen.

Norway’s Aker was awarded a Nkr14 billion ($1.7 billion at current prices) contract to provide the two subsea production systems — 59 wells — for the Kaombo North and Kaombo South projects, so is considered to have a healthy competitive position when it comes to ACCE.

As is TechnipFMC, which as Technip and in a consortium with Heerema Marine Contractors, won a $3.5 billion contract in 2014 for the Kaombo North and South SURF packages.

As one project watcher said: “This incumbency issue is fairly significant,” suggesting Aker will be the contractor to beat.

One source said the project involves about 100 kilometres of production and water injection flowlines based on the distances between the three discoveries and the tie-back distance to the FPSO.

A source familiar with the project said Alho lies about nine kilometres from Cominhos, which itself is situated about eight kilometres from Cominhos East.

The distance between Cominhos East and Gindungo — one of the fields to be tapped by the Kaombo North FPSO — is around 18 kilometres.

It is understood the market inquiry was released in May and, while some contractors have already responded, others have asked for an extension to the submission date.

The next step will be a formal tender process, although it is unclear at this stage which schedule Total is pursuing for ACCE.

“They’re getting themselves ready to push the button as and when they need the production,” reckoned one market observer.

However, in February, Angola’s government said it wanted Total to take a final investment decision in 2020, suggesting first oil could flow in 2022 or 2023, depending on available ullage on the Kaombo North FPSO.

Altogether, the two Kaombo projects aim to tap about 660 million barrels of oil held in multiple fields.

Kaombo North will produce from the Gengibre , Gindungo and Caril discoveries, while Kaombo South will exploit the Mostarda, Louro and Canela finds.

Combined production from the two converted FPSOs is expected to hit 230,000 barrels per day, split evenly. About 200 million cubic feet per day of gas will be sent to the Angola liquefied natural gas plant in Soyo.

The project, which was sanctioned in April 2014 at a cost of $16 billion, is more than one year behind schedule, partly because of issues with the FPSO conversion work, said sources.

Under a $4 billion order, Saipem converted the two vessels at Sembcorp Marine in Singapore, with the topsides built at Saipem’s Karimun yard in Indonesia.

Saipem also has a $1 billion, seven-year operations and maintenance contract.

Kaombo North, which is set to come online within weeks, was originally due to be operational in early 2017, while the second project’s first oil date has slipped from 2018 to 2019.

As well as ACCE, Total has other undeveloped discoveries in Block 32, including Cola, just east of Caril and Salsa, a few kilometres east of Louro. To the west of ACCE, are the Acarao, Colorau and Manjericao discoveries.

The block also hosts numerous undrilled Tertiary-age prospects and a large pre-salt objective in the far southwest.

Total operates Block 32 with a 30% stake and is partnered by Angolan state oil company Sonangol P&P on 30%, Angolan-Chinese venture Sonangol-Sinopec International on 20%, US supermajor ExxonMobil on 15% and Portugal’s Galp Energia on 5%.

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