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Huge offshore gas discovery in South Africa a first

Peter Stewart, PortandTerminal.com, February 9, 2019

Paris, February 7, 2019 – The French oil company Total SA has made South Africa’s first major offshore gas discovery.

The discovery was made in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa. Many believe that it will prompt a rush of activity offshore by competitors as the country works to cut its reliance on imported fuels.

Location of Total’s discover. Image: Total SA

A game changer for South Africa?

The Brulpadda find, estimated at about 1 billion barrels by Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne, could be enough to supply South Africa’s refineries for almost four years. 

“It is really transformational. This could be a discovery that kickstarts a bit of a gas strategy for South Africa.’’

Andrew Latham, VP Global Exploration, Wood MacKenzie Ltd

Total’s discovery is a “catalytic find” for the country, said Niall Kramer, chief executive officer of the South African Oil & Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group. “There’s nothing that has been on this kind of scale.”

The resource could be about three times the size of all South Africa’s gas finds to date, according to Latham. Total, the operator of the license, now plans to acquire 3D seismic data before drilling as many as four more exploration wells there. But it cautions that the operating environment offshore is tough.

About Total in South Africa

Total operates approximately 550 service stations in South Africa

Total has been present in South Africa since 1954. The Group is active on the whole oil and gas value chain and directly employs 1,000 people in the country. 

Upstream, Total has developed oil and gas exploration activities in the Outeniqua basin with operating interests in two blocks, 11B /12B and South Outeniqua.

Downstream, Total, which is ranked in the top four petroleum products market companies in South Africa, operates about 550 service stations throughout the country and is present in all other business segments (lubricants, B2B, aviation, LPG, other specialties).

It also has interest in the Natref refinery in Sasolburg.

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