Norway's oil and gas producer Statoil told Reuters on Wednesday it saw potential for big discoveries in Angola's ultra-deep water blocks, known as pre-salt blocks, in which it was awarded concessions on Monday.
Angola, which rivals Nigeria as the top oil producer in Africa, awarded concessions to majors across 11 blocks. Statoil expects to operate two concessions and participate in three others.
One or more of the blocks has one-billion-barrels-of-oil potential, Tim Dodson, Statoil's head of exploration, said in an interview. We have the potential to make giant discoveries.
Dodson said he hopes Statoil will drill its first exploration well in one of the new blocks within two years.
The Norwegian firm said it expected to sign the final deal about the concessions with Angola's state-owned oil firm Sonangol in May, after which it would disclose the value of the investments it had made in the ultra-deep water blocks.
Statoil said it was too early to say when production in the blocks could start.
It said the area appeared as promising as the ultra-deep water play on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from Angola, in Brazil.
Separately, Dodson said Statoil may imminently announce one or two deals over acquiring new exploration acreage worldwide.
I would not be surprised if we are ready to disclose one other deal, may two, probably in the second quarter... We are making good progress.