Meet Azule Energy, Angola’s newest and biggest upstream player

Following their announcement last year that they were in negotiations to combine their Angolan businesses, bp and Eni have officially signed an agreement to form a new 50/50 independent company in the country, Azule Energy.

Azule Energy, a bp and Eni Company, combines both majors’ businesses in Angola with over 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) of net production and 2 billion barrels equivalent of net resources. Azule Energy is a new and independent international energy company that will hold both companies’ stakes in 16 licenses in Angola along with their participation in Angola LNG and Eni’s stake in the Solenova solar company.

Currently Eni is operator of Blocks 15/06, Cabinda North, Cabinda Centro, Block 1/14, Block 28 and soon the Natural Gas Consortium. In addition, the Italian major has a stake in the non-operated Blocks 0 (Cabinda), 3/05, 3/05A, 14, 14 K/A-IMI, 15 and in Angola LNG. On its side, bp is operator of Blocks 18 and 31 offshore Angola, and has non-operated stakes in blocks 15, 17, 20 and 29. bp also has non-operated interests in the Natural Gas Consortium and in Angola LNG.

“Azule Energy will continue to develop the full potential of the country’s upstream sector, while also positioning itself to capture new opportunities from the energy transition with the growing role of gas and renewables in its portfolio,” Eni said in a statement yesterday.

Two FPSO hubs in the making

Two of the key assets operated by the new company are Block 15/06 (Eni) and Block 31 (bp). On Block 15/06, Azule Energy will notably be executing the full field development of Agogo. Tenders were issued by Eni in July 2021 for a project targeting a peak production of 120,000 bopd via the installation of a third FPSO unit on the block.

On Block 31, it will be in charge of the development of the Palas, Astraea and Juno (PAJ) fields. In July 2019, an Executive Decree approved their status as marginal to make their development economically viable, in line with Presidential Legislative No. 6/18 of 18 May 2018. As a result, the PAJ project is expected to develop about 135 million barrels using a new leased FPSO.

A critical gas player

Azule Energy will also become a critical player in the development of Angola’s natural gas industry. At the end of 2019, bp and Eni had joined Chevron, TotalEnergies and Sonangol in forming the New Gas Consortium, a new joint venture that will explore and produce gas in Angola and represents the country’s first upstream natural gas partnership.

Eni holds 25.6% in the joint-venture while bp Angola holds another 11.8%. The New Gas Consortium will supply gas to Angola LNG by developing several new assets, starting with the Eni-operated Quiluma and Maboqueiro fields in Block 2.

Read more

FAR Ltd to withdraw from Guinea-Bissau exploration blocks

Australian independent Far has commenced steps to withdraw from its interests in the Esperanca Blocks 4A & 5A and Sinapa Block 2 offshore Guinea Bissau, the company said today. The licenses are operated by PetroNor E&P with a 78.57% interest while FAR holds the remaining 21.43%. In October 2020, the current exploration phases for the blocks were extended for 3 years and are now valid until October 2023, with an obligation to drill an exploration well. Since 2021, PetroNor and FAR had been undertaking a full review of a potential well location for the 2023 program. The Atum Propsect is believed to be the key drill target and is mapped to contain Best Estimate Prospective Resource of 471m barrels (unrisked P50). FAR’s exit from Guinea-Bissau follows its exit from the Sangomar Offshore Oil Project offshore Senegal last year after being in default of payment. However, FAR continues to be present offshore The Gambia, where it is operator with a 50% interest of Blocks A2 & A5. While the results of its Bambo-1 well on Block A2 were unsuccessful, FAR did not throw the towel and has highgraded three of the four mapped prospects for potential drilling: Panthera in Block A2, and Jatto and Malo in Block A5. The company’s best estimate (P50) for these three prospects is of 1.5 billion barrels of prospective resource volumes.

Nigeria’s Sahara Group strengthens governance as it drives expansion

Over the weekend, Nigerian energy and infrastructure conglomerate Sahara Group has announced new strategic appointments to support its expansion across Africa and the rest of the world. The appointments all took effect on March 1st, 2022. The head of the group’s downstream business in Nigeria, Foluso Sobanjo, was notably bumped to Head of Sahara’s downstream operations across Africa. Sahara has been increasingly expanding its investments and presence across key growing markets on the continent and currently runs operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroun, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Last year, the group notably announced the expansion of its petroleum products storage capacity in Tanzania to 72m litres. Equally important, Sahara has reinforced its sustainability governance by promoting its Director of Governance and Sustainability, Pearl Uzokwe, as Director of the Sahara Foundation. Pearl Uzokwe had previously championed Sahara’s energy transition efforts and led the group’s sustainability reporting over the past few years. Finally, and in replacement of Pearl Uzokwe, Sahara has appointed Ejiro Gray as its new Director of Governance and Sustainability.