Luanda-based independent Somoil has struck a significant deal to acquire stakes in two prolific blocks offshore Angola from French supermajor TotalEnergies and Japan’s Inpex.

The ambitious player will buy a 20% interest in block 14 and a 10% stake in adjacent block 14K offshore Cabinda — both operated by Chevron — in a move that will nearly double its oil production to about 23,000 barrels per day.

Somoil’s move reflects an emerging pattern of greater indigenous involvement in Angola’s E&P scene, particularly offshore, where supermajors have traditionally been dominant.

This evolution of Angola’s upstream sector is epitomised by state oil company Sonangol’s recent bid process for some tempting deep-water assets that saw a swathe of offers from local and international juniors, with the supermajors notable for their absence.

TotalEnergies said it has signed an agreement to sell, jointly with Inpex, a company called Angola Block 14 BV to Somoil, subject to the approval of Angola’s authorities.

Angola Block 14 BV — in which TotalEnergies holds a 50.01% stake and Inpex holds 49.99% — is the owner of a 20% interest in block 14 and a 10% interest in block 14K.

The offshore blocks have been producing since 1999, with net production attributable to Angola Block 14 BV running at 9000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2021.

In mid-2021, Somoil's oil production was averaging about 13,800 bpd, derived from the FS and FST assets onshore Cabinda plus offshore blocks 2/05, 3/05, 3/05A and 4/05 and 17/06.

Henri-Max Ndong-Nzue, senior vice president of Africa for TotalEnergies E&P, said: “By divesting this interest in mature fields, TotalEnergies is implementing its strategy to high-grade its oil portfolio, focusing on assets with low costs and low emissions.”

Despite the planned sale, he stressed that “TotalEnergies remains the number one energy player in Angola, through its leading operating position in deep-offshore, its interest in Angola LNG and in a first solar power plant project, Quilemba Solar, located in the southwest of the country.”

For Somoil, whose chief executive is Edson dos Santos, the deal will see it take a stake in the Tombua-Landana and Kuito fields as well as the Benguela-Belize-Lobito-Tomboco asset in block 14.

This acreage also houses the long-dormant Negage, Lucapa and Gabela projects.

Block 14K — located in waters jointly administered by Angola and Congo-Brazzaville — hosts the Lianzi oil and gas field.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.