Yinson Holdings has secured an exclusivity agreement with BP to negotiate a lease-and-operate contract for a floating production, storage and offloading vessel for a challenging project in Block 31 offshore Angola.

The Malaysian offshore services heavyweight said the deal applies to BP’s 10-well subsea Palas, Astrea and Juno (PAJ) project which has been on the drawing board for years, but has never taken off due to its marginal nature.

BP has gone through multiple FPSO bid processes on the project and while its deal with Yinson is a positive sign, there is still no guarantee the deep-water development will move ahead.