AFTER a series of delays on cost grounds, Total has made a final investment decision to proceed with development of the Kaombo project offshore Angola.

Located in the deepwater Block 32, Kaombo will develop estimated reserves of 650 million barrels, with a production capacity of 230,000 barrels per day.

Located about 260 kilometres offshore Luanda in water depths ranging from 1,400 metres to 1,900 metres, the Kaombo project will develop six of the 12 discoveries already made on Block 32.

The six fields (Gengibre, Gindungo, Caril, Canela, Mostarda and Louro) cover an area of 80,000 hectares in the central and southeast part of the block.

The Kaombo development scheme includes 59 subsea wells, connected through around 300 kilometres of subsea lines, to two floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, each with a production capacity of 115,000 barrels per day.

The two FPSOs will be based on conversions of very large crude carriers (VLCCs) into production units. Associated gas will be exported to the onshore Angola LNG plant.

Total cut its planned capital expenditure on the project by US$4 billion to a total of US$16 billion following an intense optimisation exercise, with the project expected to start up in 2017.

Total Upstream president Yves-Louis Darricarrère said the company had improved the project’s design and contracting strategy, with the aim of reducing capital expenditure.

The company said that over 14 million man-hours of fabrication and construction works will be performed locally in Angolan yards which will be used for equipment fabrication and assembly.

Total is the operator of Block 32, with a 30 per cent stake, alongside Sonangol P&P (30%), Sonangol Sinopec International (20%), Esso Exploration and Production Angola (Overseas) Limited (15%) and Galp Energia (5%).

Following the announcement of the project, Aker Solutions announced it had secured a NKr 14 billion contract from Total to provide 20 subsea manifolds and 65 vertical subsea wells for the project.

First deliveries under the contract, which includes associated controls as well as work-over and tie-in systems, are scheduled for the second quarter of 2015.

In separate news, the French major announced in April it had discovered the presence of liquid hydrocarbons in a deep offshore area west of Ivory Coast.

Total said the well was the first discovery in the San Pedro basin, a frontier exploration area in the Ivory Coast.

“Having confirmed the presence of a petroleum system containing light oil, we will next evaluate this very promising find and focus on its extension to the north and east,”

Total senior vice president of exploration Marc Blaizot said.

Lying in 2,300 meters of water, Saphir-1XB is the first well in Block CI-514. It was drilled to a total depth of 4,655m, encountering around 40m of net pay. Total is the operator of Block CI-514 with a 54% interest.

The data acquired during drilling is being analysed and will be used to determine the area’s potential and design a delineation program. Total is pursuing its intensive exploration program in the area, with plans to drill two wells in Blocks CI-515 and CI-516 by year-end.