Deepsea Mira (former West Mira) semi-sub rig; Credit: Seadrill

Two rigs working side by side for TotalEnergies off Namibia

French energy giant TotalEnergies is going full steam ahead with its multi-well appraisal and exploration drilling programme in Namibia with two rigs. The oil major embarked on this drilling campaign after the Venus light oil discovery in Block 2913B (PEL 56) located in the Orange Basin, offshore southern Namibia.

Deepsea Mira (former West Mira) semi-sub rig; Credit: Seadrill

Namibia is turning into an exploration hotspot following TotalEnergies’ Venus-1 and Shell’s Graff-1, La Rona-1, and Jonker-1 oil discoveries, which have proven a working light oil system offshore Namibia. As a result, both oil majors along with other oil and gas players are engaging in more drilling activities in the country.

Regarding TotalEnergies’ ultra-deepwater Venus-1X exploration well, it was spud at the beginning of December 2021, using the Maersk Voyager drillship. The Venus discovery is a light oil and associated gas field, located in the Orange Basin, approximately 290 kilometres off the coast of southern Namibia, and in a water depth of approximately 3,000 metres.

The well, located in Block 2913B, was drilled to a total depth of 6,296 metres and encountered a high-quality light oil-bearing sandstone reservoir of Lower Cretaceous age. Block 2913B covers approximately 8,215 km² offshore Namibia. TotalEnergies is the operator with a 40 per cent working interest, alongside QatarEnergy (30 per cent), Africa Oil’s Impact Oil and Gas (20 per cent), and Namibia’s NAMCOR (10 per cent).

TotalEnergies planned to embark on a multi-well drilling programme offshore Namibia before the end of February 2023, targeting up to four wells, including the re-entry of the Venus-1X discovery well in Block 2913B 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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In line with these plans, Vantage Drilling’s Tungsten Explorer drillship drilled and completed during the second quarter of 2023 the Venus-1A appraisal well located in Block 2913B and approximately 13 km to the north of the Venus-1X discovery well.

TotalEnergies’ partner, Africa Oil, explains that the Venus-1A is ready for its drill stem testing (DST) programme to be carried out by Northern Ocean’s Deepsea Mira semi-submersible rig, which is managed by Odfjell Drilling. The rig is currently performing the DST work on Venus-1X including the drilling of a side-track.

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Prior to the end of the second quarter of 2023, the Tungsten Explorer drillship mobilised to the location of the Nara-1X exploration well, approximately 30 km to the northwest of Venus-1X in Block 2912 and is currently drilling the well with the plan to perform a DST in case of a discovery. In addition, a contingent appraisal well is also on the cards, subject to a successful outcome from Nara-1X operations.  

“The planned DSTs on all the wells are expected to provide important data for determining the dynamic performance of the reservoir(s) and, estimating flow rates that could be achieved by the production wells. Although, at this stage there is no guarantee of an economically viable project,” underlines Africa Oil.

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