The Lower Congo Basin lies offshore of the west coast of Africa and covers 115,000 square kilometers from the Republic of Congo to central Angola, in water depths extending to over 3500 meters. A large number of oil and gas fields occur in the basin (14 MMMBOEG produced and proven).
Two main producing trends have been discovered. The first, discovered in Block 0 in Cabinda, Angola over 30 years ago, produces from Cretaceous reservoirs in water depths less than 200 meters.
In the past four years, approximately 50 exploratory and appraisal wells have been drilled in the Lower Congo Basin Tertiary deepwater turbidite trend, which is associated with ancient deepwater channel deposition of the Congo River fan. At least 21 new oil fields have been discovered in the deepwater trend, in water depths between 200 and 1500 meters. Three-dimensional seismic data is the key to mapping these complex turbidite channel prospects. Significant areas of this new province remain undrilled, with numerous channels and trap features. Structural traps (fault truncations, channel drape over structural highs, and salt domes) dominate. Reservoirs are complex high quality turbidite sand systems. Source rocks occur in three separate intervals (Cretaceous Bucomazi and Iabe, and Tertiary Malembo formations).
The first field to produce from the turbidite trend - Kuito field in Block 14, Cabinda, Angola, discovered in April 1997 by Chevron (Operator) and partners Sonangol, Agip, Total, and Petrogal- will go on stream in November 1999.