Offshore Angola has to date delivered recoverable reserves in excess of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This has been encountered in two distinct play systems: the Upper Cretaceous Pinda carbonates sourced by Lower Creatceous lacustrine mudstones and Tertiary deepwater slope turbidite sands sourced by underlying Upper Cretaceous marine mudstones.
Initial discoveries were made in the Pinda carbonates in shallow water offshore Cabinda during the 1980s. A move into deepwater in the mid 1990s to explore a possible extension of the play in a more distal setting, instead resulted in the discovery of the Tertiary turbidite play most notably in Block 17 at Girassol. An extension of the Girassol play into Block 18 to the south will be used to describe how high quality 3D seismic data coupled with a detailed analysis of rock properties led to an unprecedented 6 successes out of 6 wells in the block, including the giant Plutonio discovery.
The shallow Tertiary play having been largely explored, industry is turning once more to the carbonate play potential - this time in deepwater. The equivalent pre-salt carbonate play that has been so prolific in the Santos Basin of offshore Brazil on the conjugate margin is a key target with a recent significant discovery announced by Cobalt Energy at Cameia in Block 21. Given this and renewed interest in the post salt Pinda, it would seem that the Angola offshore success story is set to continue for some time to come.