French oil giant Total SA has sent a drilling rig to South Africa in the hopes of duplicating its massive find there last February, Total’s partner in the project Africa Energy Corp said in a press release on Thursday.
According to Africa Energy Corp (TSXV: AFE), the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger sem-submersible rig has left Norway and is now headed to South Africa to drill the Luiperd-1 well in Block 11B/12B.
It is the same rig that drilled the Brulpadda oil and gas discovery last February.
Canada-based Africa Energy Corp holds a 49% stake in Main Street 1549 Proprietary Limited, an entity that holds a 10% participating interest in Block 11B/12B. Total’s Africa subsidiary, Total E&P South Africa B.A. is the operating in the block, with a 45% interest. Gas powerhouse Qatar Petroleum International Upstream LLC holds a 25% stake, and South Africa’s Canadian National Resources International holds the remaining 20% stake.
Block 11B/12B is located in the Outeniqua Basin about 175 km off the southern coast of South Africa.
Source: Africa Energy Corp
Total’s website did not have any information about the discovery, although Odfjell Drilling confirmed they had signed a contract for drilling work in South Africa with the Deepsea Stavanger with Total back in December. It has since been in dry dock in Norway undergoing “maintenance and modifications in preparation for the upcoming drilling program on Block 11B/12B” Africa Energy said. At the time, Africa Energy expected the rig to be underway by Q2 2020, with drilling to commence in Q3.
“We believe it is of great benefit to Odfjell Drilling and Total to be able to utilize the same drilling unit for the next wells in order to build on the experience from the previous exploration drilling campaign in this operationally challenging harsh environment high-current area”, Simen Lieungh, CEO of Odfjell Drilling, said last December when the deal was signed.
Total originally suspended drilling its Brulpadda Prospect in 2014 due to the challenges in the harsh deepwater environment, according to Africa Energy.