Oil sample.

The prospecting and researching of hydrocarbons in Angola began in 1910 when the company Canha & Formigal was granted the oil lease of an area of 114,000 km2 in the Congo Offshore and the Kwanza Basin. The first well was drilled in 1915.

Pema (Companhia de Pesquisas Mineiras de Angola) and U.S.A. based Sinclair were, from early on, also involved in prospecting and research activity in Angola. After a brief hiatus, activity was resumed in 1952 with a lease to Purfina in the same area. In 1955, the Continental Platform was added to its extension.

Also in 1955, oil was discovered in the onshore Kwanza Valley by Petrofina, which together with the colonial government, established the jointly-owned company Fina Petroleos de Angola (Petrangol) and constructed a refinery in Luanda to process the oil.

In 1962, the first seismic survey of Cabinda's Offshore was carried out by the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company and in September of that same year the first discovery emerged.

In 1973 oil became Angola’s principal export. By 1974 the production reached 172,000 bpd which was the maximum output for the colonial period.

In 1976, total production was around 100,000 bpd from three areas: Cabinda's Offshore, Kwanza's Onshore and Congo's Onshore.

Between 1952 and 1976, 30,500 km of seismic surveys were carried out, 368 wells were drilled for prospecting and research and 302 wells were drilled for oil production. During this period a total of 23 sites were discovered, three of which were offshore.

Exploration in deep waters began in 1991 with the leasing of Block 16, followed by leases of Blocks 14,15,17,18 and 20.

Over 200 exploration and appraisal wells have been drilled in Angola since 1990. At the beginning of year 2000, there were 29 offshore and onshore blocks under licence to 30 companies and of these 14 were operators.

The first FPSO (Floating Production, Storage & Offloading) rig in Angola's offshore came on stream on December 1999, and was used for project Kuito on Block 14. Since August 2003, the world's largest FPSO came on stream on project Kizomba A on Block 15. Projects in Blocks 17 and 18 also required the use of an FPSO.

To bring an end to the wasteful flaring of gas and to also enable the local production of industrial chemicals, a gas condensate facility to produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is scheduled to come online in 2015.

Numerous discoveries in the Angolan offshore have ensured that Angola will play a major role in Africa’s oil industry for the next few decades and will be a world pioneer in the oil industry.