May 29 (UPI) -- A "new chapter" opened in the deep waters off the coast of Angola with a final investment decision for a project with a 40,000 barrel per day capacity, Total said.
Total leads a consortium developing the Zinia 2 offshore development in Block 17 of the Pazflor field. A budget of $1.2 billion will be used to tap nine wells connected to an existing floating production storage and offloading unit. Zinia 2 has a production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
"Zinia 2 opens a new chapter in the history of Block 17," Arnaud Breuillac, the company's president of exploration and production, said in a statement. "This project will allow to extend the profitability of this prolific block, with over 2.6 billion barrels already produced."
Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Africa, though a period of lower oil prices and field maturation are curbing its potential. Though capped by the terms of production cuts steered by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Angola is a member, last month's output was 12 percent lower than the 2016 average at 1.5 million barrels per day.
Angolan energy company Sonangol is working with a group of international partners on how to make the country's oil sector more attractive to investors. Action taken by President João Lourenço, meanwhile, would make it easier for major oil players to grab new acreage offshore.
"The group appreciates the joint efforts of the Angolan authorities, Sonangol and the industry to enhance taxation framework and regulations," Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said. "These changes are vital to revive investment in this key sector of the Angolan economy and develop new projects, including those planned in Block 17."
Production from Angola is expected to kick up once production from the deepwater Kaombo field starts this summer. The field could have a peak capacity of around 230,000 barrels per day.