Total makes big oil and gas discovery in South Africa

French oil giant Total says the estimated billion-barrel strike could supply SA's refineries for almost four years. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described Total's offshore oil and gas find as a possible game-changer that could have significant consequences for South Africa’s energy security.

Total announced on Thursday that it had opened a "world-class" oil and gas province off the coast of Mossel Bay, at its Brulpadda block in the Outeniqua Basin, Business Dayreported.

Ramaphosa commented on the gas-condensate discovery during his state of the nation (Sona) address on Thursday.

"Last night I received a call from minister Gwede Mantashe, when he told me that the oil giant, Total, would be making a big announcement today about a new world-class oil and gas discovery off the coast of South Africa.

"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," Ramaphosa said.

Bloomberg reported that SA's first deep-water discovery was estimated at about 1 billion barrels and could be enough to supply SA's refineries for almost four years, according to Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné.

"We congratulate Total and its various partners, and wish them well in their endeavours. Government will continue to develop legislation for the sector so that it is properly regulated for the interests of all concerned," Ramaphosa said.

Source: Times South Africa


​First Big Oil and Gas Discovery Made Offshore of South Africa

South Africa’s first deep-water discovery, reported Thursday by French oil major Total SA, may prompt a rush of activity offshore by competitors as the country works to cut its reliance on imported fuels


The Brulpadda find, estimated at about 1 billion barrels by Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne, could be enough to supply South Africa’s refineries for almost four years. That’s a boon for a country that has always been short of oil and is running out of its scant domestic supply of gas.

“It is really transformational,’’ Andrew Latham, vice president of global exploration at consultant Wood MacKenzie Ltd., said Thursday. “This could be a discovery that kickstarts a bit of a gas strategy for South Africa.’’

The field of primarily gas-condensate -- a light liquid hydrocarbon -- was discovered about 175 kilometers (109 miles) off the country’s southern coast in the Outeniqua Basin. The area, where Exxon Mobil Corp. and Eni SpAalso hold stakes, may now draw further interest, especially since South Africa is due to introduce new legislation later this year aimed at spurring exploration.

The find “is potentially a major boost for the economy,” Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe said. “We welcome it as we continue to seek investment.”

‘Catalytic Find’

President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking to lure $100 billion of investments by 2023 to revive a struggling economy. The country’s energy supply is largely based on coal, while state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. also runs turbines on costly diesel fuel. A failed exploration campaign in shallow waters has meant a gas-to-liquids refinery at Mossel Bay runs well below capacity.

Total’s discovery is a “catalytic find” for the country, said Niall Kramer, chief executive officer of the South African Oil & Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group. “There’s nothing that has been on this kind of scale.”

The resource could be about three times the size of all South Africa’s gas finds to date, according to WoodMac’s Latham. Total, the operator of the license, now plans to acquire 3D seismic data before drilling as many as four more exploration wells there. But it cautions that the operating environment offshore is tough.

“The region is quite difficult to operate,” Pouyanne said on a conference call. “Huge waves, the weather isn’t very easy.”

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. The count was as low as 77 in 2017.

Total has a 45 percent working interest in Block 11b/12B, Qatar Petroleum holds 25 percent, CNR International 20 percent and Main Street, a South African consortium, 10 percent.

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