Total to sell stake in an Angolan exploration block to Sonangol for $750 mn

French oil giant Total yesterday agreed to sell its 15 per cent stake in an Angolan offshore oil exploration block to local state oil company Sonangol EP for $750 million.

The Paris-based company sold its 15 per cent stake in Angola Block 15/06, which is operated by Italian oil company Eni SpA.

Block 15/06 is located approximately 350km northwest of Luanda covering around 2,984kms, and production is expected to begin in 2015.

Eni holds 35 per cent in the field, Sonangol 15 per cent, SSI - a joint venture between China's Sinopec and Sonangol holds 25 per cent, Norway's Statoil 5 per cent, and Falcon Oil Angola Investimentos 5 per cent.

The sale of our interest in Block 15/06 is in line with Total's global strategy to actively manage its portfolio and focus its investment capability on core assets in which it has more material interests, such as Block 17 with the CLOV project currently under development and the future development of Kaombo on Block 32 in Angola'' said Jacques Marraud des Grottes, senior vice-president Africa at Total's Exploration and Production.

The sale is part of Total's plan of selling assets up to $20 billion between 2012 and 2015 in order to allocate more funds for its core exploration and production projects.

Last year it sold its 20-per cent stake in Nigeria's Usan offshore oilfield to a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinopec for $2.5 billion, and its gas transmission and storage services unit Transport et Infrastructures Gaz France to a consortium led by Italian gas transport group Snam, for $3.25 billion.

Total has been present in Angola since 1953 and is the country's largest oil producer.

In 2013, Total produced 600,000 barrels per day in Angola. Most of this production comes from Blocks 17, 0 and 14.

Block 17, where the Group is operator with a 40 per cent interest, is Total's main asset in Angola.

Total is also operator of the ultra-deepwater Block 32, in which it holds a 30 per cent stake.