Angola: The name of the oil

Have you ever wondered why the oil blocks in Angola are numbered and have names related to the Angolan oil basins? Are you curious why the oil fields within those blocks have names associated with, for example, flowers, musical instruments or fish species? This is not done randomly or on a whim. Quite the contrary, oil assets “nomenclature” in Angola is subject to very detailed rules and principles. These are contained in an Instruction (7/22, of August 17th, 2022) issued by ANPG, the Angolan Petroleum Regulator. So, lets lift the veil on those rules.

Let’s start with the oil basins. There are 5 designated offshore oil basins along the Angolan coast with the following names (from north to south):

  • Congo
  • Lower Congo
  • Kwanza
  • Benguela
  • Namibe

It goes without saying that Congo is Africa’s second largest river and Kwanza is the largest river that runs exclusively in Angola. Benguela and Namibe are the names of Angolan provinces. The vast majority of Angola’s oil production hails from the Congo and Lower Congo areas.

In addition, there are two inland basins designated as “Kassanje” (in the Malange and Uige provinces) and “Etosha/Okavango” (that straddles through the Cunene, Cuando Cubango and Moxico provinces). No oil is currently coming from these areas, although work in ongoing to assess their hydrocarbon potential.

Exploration and production areas are designated as “blocks”, and those that sit offshore are numbered from 0 to 50. Onshore blocks are numbered in relation to each basin and from 1 to a varying number. The exception is onshore Cabinda which is divided as Cabinda North, Centre and South.

Each block is assigned a “theme”. There are many themes and they can be very creative, including names of trees, fish species, birds, musical instruments, ethnic groups, traditional dishes, traditional dances, indigenous women names, locations, etc.. This is why we hear about the “Girassol” (sunflower) field in Block 17 or the “Kizomba” (Angolan dance) field in Block 15. These names are surely more fun than numbers or letters!

There are other more detailed rules regarding codes and IDs but they are not worth mentioning here.

We hope this information is useful or at least enjoyable to read!



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