France’s Total has restarted oil drilling in Angola and new exploration ships will also soon resume work, the company’s country chair Olivier Jouny told trade publication Africa Oil & Power on Monday.
All drilling activity ground to a halt in Africa’s second biggest oil exporter earlier this year as global oil prices cratered amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Skyros rig is already on Block 32 and the Maersk Voyager is due to restart end-August … we will also restart West Gemini,” Jouny said.
Total had four drilling rigs operating at the start of 2020 and, with crude production likely at around 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the year, is the top foreign operator in Angola, accounting for nearly half of national production.
“To offset declining production … Total is studying developments”, Jouny added, which “will sustain Total operated production levels for the mid-term”.
The halt to exploration came amid a long-term slump in Angola’s production volumes due to ageing fields and lack of investment.
It dealt a setback to a drive by Angolan authorities to sell off key state oil assets, including parts of the state oil company Sonangol, and to drum up foreign investment.