Total makes significant gas discovery off the coast of South Africa

French oil major Total has made a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects, located on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometers off the southern coast of South Africa, the company announced on Thursday.

Total said that the Brulpadda well, covering an area of 19,000 square kilometers, with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters, encountered 57 meters of net gas condensate pay in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs. After that was achieved, the well was deepened to a final depth of 3,633 meters and has also been successful in the Brulpadda-deep prospect, the company further stated.

“We are very pleased to announce the Brulpadda discovery which was drilled in a challenging Deepwater environment”, said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President Exploration at Total. 

“With this discovery, Total has opened a new world-class gas and oil play and is well positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the same block,” McLachlan added.

Total first attempted to drill the Brulpadda Prospect in 2014, but it was suspended prior to reaching target due to difficulties experienced by the drilling rig in the harsh deepwater environment. However, following extensive review of the challenging surface conditions, Total contracted the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig to drill the Brulpadda-1AX re-entry well in December 2018.

Following the success of Brulpadda and confirmation of the play potential, Total and its partners — Qatar Petroleum with 25 percent interest, CNR international (20 percent) and Main Street, a South African consortium (10 percent) — plan to acquire 3D seismic this year, followed by up to four exploration wells on the same license.

Africa Energy holds a 4.9% effective interest in the Exploration Right for Block 11B/12B. The Company owns 49% of the shares in Main Street 1549 Proprietary Limited, which has a 10% participating interest in the block. Source: Africa Energy

The find is significant for Total, which announced a change of strategy in January, dumping its erstwhile focus on “frontier” areas that have not been commercially exploited in favour of areas known to contain commercial levels of oil or gas. It is also significant for South Africa, a country working hard to grow its economy, following a 2018 recession.

The country’s Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe had said while visiting Total’s site on Saturday that the operations should boost investor confidence and contribute positively to the economy.

“If we can discover oil and gas here, that will be a game changer for the country in terms of the economy. We hope that we will discover oil so that we can reduce our dependence on imported crude oil,” Mantashe said.