Total says it will begin work on deep-water Angolan fields

11th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

French oil giant Total said on Wednesday it will begin work on four deep-water fields off Angola even as the IEA warned that uncertainty after the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill could put such projects at risk.

Total said it will begin work on the Cravo, Liro, Orquidea and Violetta fields about 140 kilometres (90 miles) from the Angolan capital Luanda in water depths of between 1,000 and 1,400 metres (3,250 and 4,550 feet).

The fields contain about 500 million barrels of oil, with production slated for 2014, Total said.

They are grouped in an offshore bloc being developed by Total along with Norway's Statoil, Esso and British energy giant BP, which has just managed to seal the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico after spending about six billion dollars to contain the worst US environmental disaster.

The well ruptured in April, sparking a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and leading Washington to impose a moratorium on any new deep-water oil drilling.

Earlier on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency warned that because of the catastrophe, new deep-water oil exploration had been left on a "knife edge," surrounded by uncertainty over how governments might tighten up regulations for the issue of licences and for safety procedures.

The IEA estimated that Gulf of Mexico output would be cut by 60,000 barrels per day this year and by 100,000 bpd next year "on the assumption that a handful of identified projects will be delayed by 6-12 months."

So far, however, the IEA said it had not seen any impact on production elsewhere but there was a risk the disaster could lead to a tightening of rules which would discourage exploration in deep-water areas which will be a key component in meeting future energy demand.

"Some 30 percent of existing global oil, and nearly 50 percent of new supplies by 2015, needs to be sourced from offshore, much of it from deep water," the IEA noted in a report.

© 2010 AFP

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