STATE-OWNED Sonangol has signed a sale and purchase agreement with Cobalt International Energy that will see it acquire all of Cobalt’s 40 per cent participating interest in Blocks 21/09 and 20/11 offshore Angola for US$1.75 billion.

Announced in late August, with an effective date of January 1 2015, the transaction is subject to customary Angolan government approvals which are expected prior to the end of the year.

The sale and purchase agreement provides for a smooth transition to a new operator and underscores the parties’ commitment to attain the final investment decision for the Cameia development in Block 21/09 by year end 2015 in order to deliver first oil from Cameia in 2018.

Notwithstanding Cobalt’s continuing as operator for an interim period, all costs going forward will be funded by Sonangol.

Commenting on the transaction, Sonangol chief executive Francisco Lemos José Maria said Cobalt has had outstanding exploration success in Angola’s pre-salt, which will accrue considerable prosperity to the Angolan people over coming generations.

“We are thankful and appreciative of their efforts and dedication to the task and wish them well in their future endeavours in the global industry,” he said.

Cobalt chief executive Joseph Bryant said the company is proud of the success that its partnership with Sonangol has achieved in opening the pre-salt play in the Kwanza basin.

“We remain committed to continuing our joint efforts with Sonangol to move the Cameia development project to sanction by year end,” Mr Bryant said.