Total SE and its partners made a second gas-condensate find off the southern coast of South Africa, a country that imports most of its oil.
The “significant” discovery of gas condensate — a light liquid hydrocarbon — comes after Total said last year it had opened up a new “world-class” oil and gas province off South Africa. The drilling program is a rare example of exploration in a frontier area, with activity dropping off dramatically elsewhere amid the oil-price collapse.
The Luiperd-1X well on Block 11B/12B was drilled to a total depth of about 3 400 meters and encountered 73 meters of gas condensate, Total said Wednesday in a statement. The French company will now conduct a detailed assessment of the reservoir in conjunction with Qatar Petroleum and its other partners.
“The initial well results are better than anticipated, and they offer a great opportunity to pursue further exploration and appraisal activities in this area,” Saad Al-Kaabi, Qatar’s minister of energy and chief executive officer of Qatar Petroleum, said in a separate statement.
Oil exploration has dropped amid lower prices and waning demand. This year, as the coronavirus slowed economic activity, the number of rigs offshore Africa plummeted to single digits, according to data from Baker Hughes.
In February 2019, Total and its partners made an estimated 1 billion-barrel find on Block 11B/12B.
Total operates the block with a 45% working interest. Qatar Petroleum has 25%, CNR International 20% and Main Street — a South African consortium — 10%.