More drilling on the cards for ‘promising and significant opportunities’ off South Africa
Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corp. and its partners are setting the wheels into motion to undertake offshore exploration activities in Block 3B/4B in the Orange Basin off South Africa.
One of the Canadian player’s partners, Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas, revealed on Tuesday, 21 March 2023, that Africa Oil was in the process of applying for environmental authorisation to undertake exploration activities in Block 3B/4B in the Orange Basin, situated directly south of the “prolific multi-billion barrels” discoveries offshore Namibia, made by Shell (Graff-1 and Jonker-1X) and TotalEnergies (Venus-1).
According to Eco, the Joint Venture partners have contracted Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS) of South Africa to apply for a permit to drill one well and one contingent well – and potentially up to five wells – within an area of interest in the north of the block.
Colin Kinley, Co-Founder and COO of Eco Atlantic, commented: “We are excited about 3B/4B and the inventory prospective resource targets on the block as recently announced in the operator’s Competent Persons Report. This creates an outstanding resource exploration and development opportunity for the Joint Venture partnership and South Africa.
“Understanding the latest research and information of changing natural patterns of the environment, and the use and effects that we have on the sea and its natural state is key to successful exploration. The EIMS team and the JV partnership are working closely on seeking environmental authorisation to permit and drill these promising and significant opportunities for South Africa in the now proven Orange Basin.”
Located offshore western South Africa, Block 3B/4B is situated approximately 180 km from the coast, in water depths averaging approximately 1,000 metres. EIMS has been appointed to undertake the required environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The Block 3B/4B JV partners are Africa Oil SA Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of Africa Oil Corp., the operator of the block, holding a 20 per cent participating interest; Azinam Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eco Atlantic, holding an interest of 26.25 per cent; and Ricocure (Proprietary) Limited, holding the remaining 53.75 per cent interest.
“We successfully met with regional stakeholders, received their approval, and recently drilled a safe exploration well on Block 2B. During this project we proved our capacity to protect regional culture and the environment and safely steward exploration for South Africa’s own much needed energy,” added Kinley.
Based on Eco’s statement, the JV partners continue to progress the collaborative farm-out process, up to 55 per cent gross working interest in the block, with various potential parties. Africa Oil revealed at the start of March 2023 that a review of the prospective resources and probability of geological success of 24 exploration prospects within Block 3B/4B was completed by RISC.
According to the report, the proven reservoirs in Graff and Venus discoveries are similar to Cretaceous reservoirs and geological plays that would be targeted in Africa Oil’s Block 3B/4B. RISC has reported total unrisked gross P50 prospective resources in Block 3B/4B of approximately 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
“In parallel to the research related to our reports and the application for authorisation, we will again directly engage with regional stakeholders and communities as we look to do our part for the South African energy solution,” concluded Kinley.