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The giant Pazflor field offshore Angola has come onstream ahead of the initial schedule, according to Total, operator of Block 17. The field is 150 km off Luanda in water depths ranging from 600 to 1,200 m (1,980 to 3,960 ft) and has estimated proved and probable reserves of 590 million barrels.
The field will gradually ramp up to its full production capacity of 220,000 barrels per day over the coming months.
Pazflor includes a subsea gathering network with 180 km of lines tying in 49 subsea wells and 10,000 metric tons of subsea equipment to the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is the largest in the world. It can store up to 1.9 million barrels of oil that is then exported to tankers via an offloading buoy. The associated gas is reinjected into the reservoir, but could also be exported to the Angola LNG plant once the latter becomes operational.
A key technical challenge was producing two very different grades of oil from four separate reservoirs. Producing the heavy, viscous oil from the three Miocene reservoirs, which account for two-thirds of the reserves, and the related flow-assurance constraints, represented a major challenge.
The gas has to be separated from the liquids on the seabed so that the viscous liquids can then be pumped to the surface. The design and installation of subsea gas-liquid separation units and pumps are a world first on this scale, according to Total. The pumps were purpose-designed and tested for Pazflor.
Total E&P Angola operates Block 17 with a 40% interest, while Sonangol is the concession holder. The other partners are Statoil (23.33%), Esso Exploration Angola (Block 17) Ltd. (20%) and BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd. (16.67%).