One of the promising hotspots for oil and gas exploration drilling this year—South Africa’s offshore—has just yielded a massive natural gas and condensate find that could open a new exploration province for oil majors and change the energy fortunes of South Africa.
France’s major Total said this week that it had made a significant discovery on the Brulpadda prospects off the southern coast of South Africa.
“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,” said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice President Exploration at Total.
According to Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne, the discovery could hold 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent of gas and condensate resources.
The operator of the license, Total, and its partners Qatar Petroleum, CNR International, and South African consortium Main Street, now plan to acquire 3D seismic data this year, followed by up to four exploration wells on the license.
“It is exciting for our country that this discovery has been made. It is potentially a major boost for the economy, and we welcome it as we continue to seek investment to grow our economy,” South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said, commenting on the major gas discovery.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) also hailed the first major deepwater discovery off South Africa, saying, “This is a great first step for the country which still relies on imports of oil and gas despite the great reserves believed to be in its soil and waters.”
According to AEC, the discovery could change the course of South Africa’s economy and help to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and natural gas imports.
“The oil industry hopes this will be a catalyst and encouragement for all policy makers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa,” NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber, said.
South Africa is currently working on new legislation that would separate the conditions for exploring and exploiting oil and gas resources from those for traditional minerals.