Total and its project partners will resume drilling at block 11B/12B offshore South Africa in September after the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the exploration programme by several months.
The Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig has departed Bergen, Norway, for South Africa to start a multi-well drilling program, said Total’s partner, Canadian oil and gas firm Africa Energy Corp.The Luiperd-1 well will be spudded by September, Africa Energy said. Previously the plan was for drilling to resume at the start of the second quarter.
The Luiperd prospect has been “de-risked” by the nearby Brulpadda discovery, where Total in early 2019 flagged potential resources of 1bn bl of oil equivalent (boe), and subsequent 3D seismic work has been completed, the Canadian firm said. Luiperd is the largest prospect in the Paddavissie Fairway, situated in the southwest corner of the Outeniqua Basin block 11B/12B, 175km off the southern coast of South Africa.
Africa Energy has a 49pc shareholding in South African consortium Main Street, which holds a 10pc participating interest in Block 11B/12B.Total is the operator and has a 45pc interest, and Qatar’s state-owned QP and Toronto-listed Canadian Natural Resources have 25pc and 20pc respectively.
The discovery sparked renewed interest in South Africa’s exploration sector, but uncertainty over a long-delayed revision of the legislative framework for petroleum exploration has held back investment.
The government scrapped a revision of the mineral and petroleum resources development act (MPRDA) in 2018, to pave the way for developing separate legislative frameworks for the upstream petroleum and mining sectors. It published a draft upstream development bill in December, for which the consultation period ended on 21 February. The next step towards passing the bill is for cabinet as to consider the legislation, but the timeline for has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.