In February, French oil company Total S.A. announced an important new gas find off the southern coast of South Africa. This find in deep waters, marks a significant departure from previous explorations, which number some 300 offshore wells located in relatively shallow waters.
Total’s discovery was made in the country’s first deep-water well, using knowledge and experience gained from drilling in the harsh sub-Arctic conditions of West Shetland off Scotland. Total’s well lies in the Brulpadda bloc, an area of 19,000 km² some 275km south of Mossel Bay which is thought to contain around 1 billion barrels of wet gas containing some oil. This discovery is potentially significant for South Africa’s economy, as Claire Lawrie, Senior Managing Director FTI Consulting states, “this find creates options for using South African gas finds for conversion to liquid fuels and to drive power generation.”
Total’s $154 million Brulpadda-1AX exploration well was drilled in 1,432 meters of water to a total depth of 3,420 meters by the Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig owned by Odfjell Drilling. This project is a joint venture led by Total S.A. with a 45 percent working interest, alongside Qatar Petroleum (25%), Cape Town-based CNR International (20%), and South African consortium Main Street (10%). Starting in December’s summer window, Total S.A. expects to drill up to four exploration wells at a cost of $100 million each reports Reuters, February 2019. Total’s success is expected to spur Exxon Mobil and the Italian group Eni Spa to start new exploration efforts in nearby blocs.