South Africa JV secures rig for high-impact exploration well

A joint venture partnership for Block 2B, located offshore South Africa, has secured a semi-submersible drilling rig from Island Drilling, a Norwegian contractor, to drill a high-impact exploration well later this year.

Island Innovator; Source: Island Drilling
Island Innovator rig - Island Drilling
Island Innovator rig; Source: Island Drilling

Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas revealed on Thursday that the Joint Venture partnership of Block 2B has entered into a drilling contract for the Island Innovator semi-submersible rig with Island Drilling Company for the upcoming drilling of the Gazania-1 well.

The Block 2B JV partners are Africa Energy, with a 27.5 per cent Working Interest (WI), a subsidiary of Panoro Energy holds a 12.5 per cent WI, and Crown Energy indirectly holds the remaining 10 per cent WI. Eco Atlantic will become the operator and hold a 50 per cent WI, subject to near completion of its 100 per cent acquisition of Azinam Group.

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The Gazania-1 well is located in the Orange Basin in South Africa. The block covers 3,062 square kilometres off the west coast of South Africa 300 kilometres north of Cape Town with water depths ranging from 50 to 200 meters.

The Orange Basin straddles the offshore waters of Namibia and South Africa, where major discoveries on both the Graff-1 well, drilled by Shell, and the Venus-1 well, drilled by TotalEnergies, have recently been announced.

Eco previously said that the Gazania-1 exploration well would target estimates of 349 million barrels of oil in relatively shallow water depths of less than 200 metres.

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Colin Kinley, Co-Founder and COO of Eco Atlantic commented: “We are pleased to be making progress in our exploration and drilling plans for 2022. We are planning for mobilization of the rig in late August and to spud shortly after arrival, with the experienced Island Drilling team and the Innovator semi.”

In a separate statement on Thursday, Africa Energy confirmed the rig had been contracted to drill the Gazania-1 well by October 2022.

Garrett Soden, Africa Energy’s President and CEO, commented, “We are pleased to secure the Island Innovator rig to drill a high-impact oil exploration well this year on Block 2B. The block has significant contingent and prospective resources in shallow water close to shore and includes the A-J1 discovery from 1988 that flowed light sweet crude oil to surface. Gazania-1 will target two large prospects seven kilometres up-dip from A-J1 in the same basin as the recent Venus and Graff discoveries.”

It is worth reminding that the same rig late last year secured two new contracts, one with Petrofac in the UK North Sea and another with Maersk Decom for P&A operations offshore Mauritania. The work under the first deal is scheduled to begin in Q2/3 2022 and in 4Q 2022 for the second.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Island Drilling said that the latest contract will fill the gap of work between Petrofac in the UK and Maersk Decom in Mauritania.

“We have been in dialogue regarding this contract for a long time and we are happy to finally sign this contract. This will make the Island Innovator fully occupied during 2022,” said CEO of Island Drilling, Roger Simmenes.