French supermajor Total expects to announce the results of its Bruldpadda-1AX wildcat off South Africa within days. “The results should be announced in the next week or so,” said a well-placed source.
If successful, the well could be a game changer for South Africa, opening up a new offshore play – dubbed Paddavissie – at a time when the country relies heavily on coal to help meet its power demand and is considering further gas imports.
The wildcat is being drilled under the terms of the Mineral & Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002, under which a commercial discovery is expected to be developed. An amended version of the MPRDA is currently going through South Africa’s legislature.
One country watcher cautioned that if Brulpadda is a major success, then the government could toughen up the terms of the amended MPRDA, potentially reducing the rewards for oil companies from future exploration and production.
Bruldpadda-1AX is being drilled by Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible in Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua basin, targeting gross prospective resources of more than 500 million barrels of oil.
This prospect is expected to be oil bearing, although any discovered gas could be fed to PetroSA’s Mossel Bay gas-to-liquids plant, which is running out of feedstock as nearby offshore gas fields deplete.