Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Semi-sub rig finds ‘significant’ oil discovery offshore Namibia

Portuguese oil and gas company Galp has confirmed a light oil discovery in a well situated within license PEL 83 offshore Namibia, located close to Shell’s Graff and TotalEnergies’ Venus discoveries. This well was drilled by an Odfjell Drilling-managed semi-submersible rig.

Hercules rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Portuguese player set the stage to drill a well in license PEL 83 in the heart of Namibia’s Orange Basin after entering into a contract with SFL Corporation for the Odfjell Drilling-managed Hercules rig in May 2023. The 115-day contract is for two wells plus optional well testing.

The Mopane-1X prospect, which was spudded on November 17, 2023, is located at the southern end of PEL 83. This exploration well is the first of two wells that are expected to be drilled by the Hercules semi-submersible rig. A few days ago, Galp revealed that the Mopane-1X well had shown preliminary signs of hydrocarbon presence.

Following the drilling and logging of the first exploration well, the Portuguese firm has now confirmed the discovery of “a significant column” of light oil in reservoir-bearing sands of high quality. Galp intends to continue analyzing the acquired data and anticipates performing a drill stem test (DST) in the coming weeks to assess the commerciality of this discovery.

According to the company, the drilling operations at Mopane-1X will proceed to explore deeper targets. Upon completion, the rig will be relocated to the Mopane-2X location for further evaluation of the extent of the Mopane discovery.

Galp, as the operator of PEL 83, obtained an extension for the license last year. The company holds an 80% interest in this asset while its partners, National Petroleum Company of Namibia (Namcor) and Custos Investments, each hold a 10% stake. Sintana has a 49% indirect interest in Custos.

This license is located immediately north of Shell’s PEL 39 where the basin opening discoveries at Graff-1, La Rona-1 and Jonker-1 were drilled, and close to TotalEnergies’ multi-billion-barrel Venus-1 oil discovery on PEL 56.

The 2008-built Hercules sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible rig, which is of GVA 7500 design, was constructed by DSME in South Korea and can accommodate 180 people. The rig can operate in water depths of 10,000 ft and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.

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