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    Total Reports S African Discovery (Update)


South African is counting on offshore discoveries to bolster dwindling domestic gas supply.

by: Joe Murphy

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Africa, Premium, Corporate, Exploration & Production, News By Country, South Africa

Total Reports S African Discovery (Update)

(Adds comment from African Energy Chamber)

France's Total has made a "significant" gas condensate discovery at the Luiperd prospect off South Africa, it said on October 28.

The find was made at block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua basin, 175 km offshore. The Luiperd well was drilled to a depth of 3,400 m, using the Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig. It encountered 73 m of net-pay gas condensate in well-developed good quality Lower Cretaceous reservoirs, Total said.

The well will be tested to assess the dynamic reservoir characteristics and deliverability.

“We are very pleased with this second discovery and its very encouraging results, which prove the world-class nature of this offshore gas play,” Total's upstream president Arnaud Breuillac said. "With this discovery and the successful seismic acquisitions, Total and its partners have acquired important data on the Paddavissie fairway, which will help to progress development studies and engage with South African authorities regarding the possible conditions of the gas commercialisation.”

Total operates the 19,000-km2 block 11B/12B with a 45% stake, while Qatar Petroleum has 25%, CNR international 20% and South African consortium Main Street 10%. Africa Energy owns 49% of Main Street. The group made the play-opening Brulpadda discovery in February last year.

South Africa is hoping that discoveries at block 11B/12B can be used to bolster dwindling domestic gas supply. Local authorities warn that the Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant could run out of gas feedstock by the end of this year. 

Discovery the first for Sub-Saharan Africa

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) welcomed the find, saying it followed just a two-month delay to the multi-well exploration programme and is the year's only discovery across sub-Saharan Africa.

"This second find confirms the tremendous gas potential in South Africa and is expected to be followed by the drilling of a third, a potential fourth, exploration wells on the same block," the AEC said.

The  body is to publish an outlook that dentifies Namibia and the southwestern coast of Africa as being home to perhaps the most anticipated wildcats globally. "The prospects, if successful, could open new basins for development and trigger big new investments towards the latter half of the 2020s," it said.

AEC said that the gradual opening of a new domestic gas hub in South Africa "needs to be supported with efficient and transparent policies, and quick approvals of all necessary permits and licences for gas to be commercialised and create value for South Africans."