Total makes significant discovery off South Africa's southern coast

  • Total makes significant discovery off South Africa's southern coast

Total makes significant discovery off South Africa's southern coast

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19,000 square kilometers, with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters, and is operated by Total with a 45% working interest, alongside Qatar Petroleum (25%), CNR global (20%) and Main Street, a South African consortium (10%).

"Now - whether you like it or not - we are extremely encouraged by the report this morning about the Brulpadda block in the Outeniqua Basin, which some have described as a "catalytic find".

Total holds a 45% stake in the block, alongside Qatari, Canadian and South African firms. The well was deepened to a final depth of 3,633 meters and has also been successful.

The discovery, which also includes some light oil, could prompt a rush of activity offshore by other companies, especially since South Africa is due to introduce new oil and gas legislation later this year aimed at spurring exploration.

"The region is quite hard to operate", Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on a conference call. Total said it drilled the exploration well with the latest-generation drilling ship, using its experience in similar environments such as the area west of the Shetland Islands in the North Sea.

Environmental rights' group Greenpeace said on Friday that the discovery of more fossil fuels off the coast of South Africa was not a cause for celebration.

Africa as a whole has seen an increase in drilling, with oil and gas rigs around the continent topping 100 in recent months, according to Baker Hughes data.

Government has said this Bill will provide certainty to the upstream petroleum industry and stimulate growth and development in this sector. "We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such discoveries", N.J. Ayuk, executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber, said in a statement on Thursday. "We welcome it as we continue to seek investment".