Deepsea Mira rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

TotalEnergies evaluating flow test results for potential commercial oil development off Namibia

French energy giant TotalEnergies has made progress with its multi-well appraisal and exploration drilling program in Namibia, which is being carried out with two rigs. The oil major is currently checking out well flow test results, which it plans to use to decide on a course of action when it comes to a potential commercial development of the Venus light oil discovery in Block 2913B (PEL 56) located in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia.

Deepsea Mira rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The French player is the operator of Block 2913B, which covers approximately 8,215 km² offshore Namibia, with a 40% working interest, alongside QatarEnergy (30%), Africa Oil’s Impact Oil and Gas (20%), and Namibia’s NAMCOR (10%). Following TotalEnergies’ Venus-1 and Shell’s Graff-1, La Rona-1, and Jonker-1 discoveries, which have proven a working light oil system offshore Namibia, the African country is turning into an exploration hotspot. As a result, both oil majors along with other oil and gas players are engaging in more drilling activities.

TotalEnergies’ ultra-deepwater Venus-1X exploration well was spudded at the beginning of December 2021, using the Maersk Voyager drillship. This is a light oil and associated gas field located approximately 290 kilometers off the coast of southern Namibia in a water depth of approximately 3,000 meters. The French giant planned to embark on a multi-well drilling program offshore Namibia before the end of February 2023, targeting up to four wells, including the re-entry of the Venus-1X well to appraise the Venus discovery and to investigate a potential westerly extension of Venus, the Nara prospect – formerly referred to as West Venus – on Block 2912.

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TotalEnergies’ partner, Africa Oil, confirmed positive drill stem test (DST) results for the Venus-1X well on September 28, 2023, and provided further updates on exploration and appraisal activities on blocks 2913B and 2912. Following the discovery at the Venus-1X well, which encountered a high-quality light oil-bearing sandstone reservoir of Lower Cretaceous age, preparations were made to side-track and perform a DST of the oil-bearing reservoirs using Northern Ocean’s Deepsea Mira semi-submersible rig, which is managed by Odfjell Drilling.

Furthermore, the DST program, which began in early September, has been concluded. It flowed oil with positive DST results. The Venus-1A appraisal well, located approximately 13 km northwest of the Venus-1X discovery well, was drilled to a total depth of 6,146 m, cored, and logged using Vantage Drilling’s Tungsten Explorer drillship. The Deepsea Mira rig will re-enter Venus-1A imminently to undertake a DST program.

Currently, TotalEnergies and its partners are in the process of interpreting the results of the flow test and incorporating them into the development studies, which are expected to be confirmed with the flow test of Venus-1A in 4Q 2023. According to Africa Oil, the Tungsten Explorer drillship, which was recently operating on Block 2912, will mobilize shortly to drill the Mangetti-1X well on Block 2913B, targeting a prospect located to the north of the Venus structure with the drilling expected to start in October 2023.

While working on Block 2912, the Tungsten Explorer drillship drilled the Nara-1X well, located approximately 30 km northwest of the Venus-1X well, to a total depth of 6,181 m. A full wireline logging program was completed, and a core was taken. However, the Nara-1X well was not flow tested as it was deemed non-commercial. The Joint Venture is continuing to evaluate the results of Nara-1X. Africa Oil holds a 31.0% shareholding in Impact and has an effective interest of 6.2% in Block 2913B and an effective interest of 5.9% in Block 2912.

Africa Oil’s Impact, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Impact Oil and Gas Namibia, holds an 18.89% working interest in the adjacent Block 2912 (PEL 91), where it is also partnered with TotalEnergies (operator with 37.78% interest), QatarEnergy (28.33%) and NAMCOR (15%).

Dr. Roger Tucker, Africa Oil’s President and CEO, commented: “The successful Venus-1X DST program is a major milestone in the Venus campaign and, if confirmed by Venus-1A DST results, supports the commercial development of this world-class light oil discovery.

“It is important to highlight that the opportunity here is not just about one discovery, and we expect that further work will be done to mature large-scale targets already identified on Block 2193B, including those to the south of Venus. We have an exciting work program ahead of us and together with our other interests in the Orange Basin, we have a very exciting and attractive opportunity set.”