by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – THE recent discovery of gas off the southern coast of South Africa is seen as a great step for the country which still relies on imports of oil and gas despite great reserves believed to be in its soil and waters.
Industry experts believe the discovery by the French company, Total, in the offshore Outeniqua Basin would help open a new hydrocarbons province in South Africa and could prove the presence of billions of barrels of oil equivalent in local waters and undoubtedly change the course of the country’s economy as well as help reduce dependency on imports.
The African Energy Chamber (AEC) welcomed the gas condensate discovery in Block 11B/12B.
“The oil industry hopes this will be a catalyst and encouragement for all policymakers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa,” said NJ Ayuk, AEC Executive Chairman.
“We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such
discoveries, and the time has come to have a meaningful conversation on local content development so the development of the industry benefits all South African workers and contractors across the value-chain and creates jobs for the communities.”
The energy chamber believes the gas discovery is a timely one as the South African government is currently working on new legislation separating oil and gas from traditional minerals.
The government last year released a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018), with ambitions to install an additional 8 100MW of gas-to-power capacity in the country by 2030.
The discovery by Total further echoes increased engagement of the South African government with the African and global oil industry.
“With South Africa demonstrating a commitment to reforms and the creation of an enabling environment for business, the oil industry is confident that the country can attract the investment needed,” Ayuk said.
Total and its partners plan to acquire 3D seismic this year, followed by up to four exploration wells on this license.
Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19 000 square kilometres, with water depths ranging from 200 to 1 800 metres.
Total has a 45 percent working interest, alongside Qatar Petroleum (25 percent), CNR international (20 percent) and Main Street, a South African consortium (10 percent).
Gwede Mantashe, South Africa Mineral Resources Minister, expressed excitement at the discovery.
“It is potentially a major boost for the economy. We welcome it as we continue to seek investment to grow our economy,” Mantashe said.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address last Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the discovery could be a “game-changer” for South Africa.
“We are extremely encouraged by the report about the Brulpadda block in the Outeniqua Basin, which some have described as a catalytic find,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News