The year 2009 heralded the beginning of a number of brownfield projects, aimed at maximizing the remaining output from fields in production and finding cost-effective ways to develop secondary reservoirs. Brownfield projects are important because they create synergies between production centers, such as the Girassol FPSO, and secondary reservoirs, so the latter can be developed at a reduced cost by integrating new facilities into the existing infrastructure. Block 17 is still estimated to have total recoverable reserves of 144 million barrels (133 million barrels of Oligocene oil and 11 million barrels of Miocene oil). With such high financial stakes, Total E&P Angola – the country’s leader in oil exploration and production – decided to tackle the brownfield challenge, drawing on its comprehensive knowledge of the fields in Block 17 to ensure high-performance wells.


Block 17’s first brownfield development project, GirRi, aimed to capture 144 million barrels of reserves.


Oligocene: The geological epoch that covers the period from 34 million to 23 million years before the present day.

Miocene : The geological epoch that extended from 23 million to 5 million years before the present day.


First oil for GirRI (Girassol Resources Initiatives) came in August 2011. It was the first project of its kind in Block 17 and its development posed some sizable challenges that Total E&P Angola was determined to address. GirRi marked the first use of high-pressure (130 bars) helico-axial multiphase pumps. It also included an electrical connection between the Girassol and Dalia FPSOs. In addition, the same FPSO was used to treat two different types of oil (one dating from the Oligocene epoch and the other from the Miocene), an innovation that was repeated at Pazflor and CLOV.


GirRi at a Glance

  • Location: 230 kilometers northwest of Luanda.
  • Water depth: 1,300 to 1,400 meters.
  • Fields: Girassol, Jasmim and Rosa.
  • 17 wells drilled.
  • One manifold.
  • Five suction anchors.
  • 70 kilometers of umbilicals.
  • Seven kilometers of rigid and flexible pipeline.
  • 41 spools and jumpers installed.
  • Disconnection and removal of 17 existing jumpers.
  • 1,000 tons of additional equipment installed on the Girassol FPSO.


Multiphase pumps: Multiphase pumps make it possible to transport a mixture of gas and oil; as a result, remote wells can be operated without having to separate the mixture onsite.


GirRi also marked a new milestone among Total E&P Angola projects in terms of its local content. The detailed engineering for the project, handled in-country for the first time, demonstrated that local engineers and technicians could meet the affiliate’s quality, cost and time objectives while adhering to Total’s corporate HSE standards and best practices. Moreover, it showed they could take on responsibility at various levels of the GirRi project from the design stage on and foster the emergence of a network of local businesses.



West Gemini, a state-of-the-art drilling rig, was assigned to the operations being conducted as part of the GirRi project. This steel colossus was designed to drill to depths of more than 11,000 meters in water 3,000 meters deep.