Italian company Eni SpA (NYSE: E) said March 13 it had made a major oil discovery in Angola that would boost its credentials as one of the most successful foreign oil producers in Africa in recent years.
The find is Angola's largest offshore discovery in years and may help Africa's second-biggest crude producer avoid a steep decline in output due to the aging of its other fields.
Oil accounts for 95% of exports and around 70% of revenues, and the government has recently offered better fiscal terms and more collaboration to international energy firms in an effort to help its mostly impoverished population.
Eni said its new Agogo prospect in Angola's deep waters contained between 450 million and 650 million barrels of light oil with potential for further upside.
Data from the exploration well pointed to a production capacity of more than 20,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, it said.
"This is a valuable find of light, sweet oil which they will be able to fast-track to meet increasing demand in 2020-2021," Santander oil analyst Jason Kenney said.
Eni, which has been in Angola since 1980, will be operator at the field with a stake of 36.8%, the same as Angola's state-owned Sonangol. SSI Fifteen Ltd. has 26.3%.
Angola, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a key location for the Italian state-controlled major. The company currently produces around 155,000 barrels of equity oil equivalent per day in the African nation.
Eni, which in 2018 produced 1.85 million bbl/d, was struggling to replace reserves a decade ago and lost credibility over its management of the huge Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan.
But giant gas finds at Mamba in Mozambique and Zohr in Egypt have since given it the strongest discovery record in the industry.
The major, which produces more than half its oil and gas in Africa, has made a move to diversify away from the continent by clinching a series of deals in the Gulf region.
It is set to uncover its new strategy plan to 2022 on March 15.
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