Oil and Gas Exploration in Africa


South Africa, Block 11B/12B

Block 11B/12B is located in the Outeniqua Basin approximately 175 kilometers off the southern coast of South Africa. The block covers an area of 18,734 square kilometers with water depths ranging from 200 meters in the north to 1,800 meters in the south. The Lower Cretaceous Post-rift Paddavissie Fairway, which contains the Brulpadda discovery, is located within the southwest corner of the block.

Total’s first attempt to drill the Brulpadda Prospect in 2014 was suspended prior to reaching target due to difficulties experienced by the drilling rig in the harsh deepwater environment. After extensive review of the challenging surface conditions, Total contracted the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig to drill the Brulpadda-1AX re-entry well commencing in December 2018.

The Brulpadda well was drilled in approximately 1,400 meters of water by the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig. The well targeted two objectives in a deep marine fan sandstone system within combined stratigraphic/structural closure. Following the success of the main objective, the well was deepened to a final depth of 3,633 meters and was successful in the Brulpadda-deep prospect.

The well encountered oil pay and a total of 57 meters of net gas condensate pay over two Middle to Lower Cretaceous high-quality reservoirs. Core samples were taken in the upper reservoir, and a comprehensive logging and sampling program was performed over both reservoirs. The success at both the Brulpadda primary and secondary targets significantly de-risks other similar prospects on Block 11B/12B.

In March and April 2019, the operator acquired 570 square kilometers of 3D seismic with the Polarcus Asima vessel. The first phase of 3D seismic covered the Brulpadda discovery and the Luiperd prospect. The joint venture partnership received the preliminary, fast-track 3D results in August 2019, and expects to receive the fully processed 3D seismic dataset in February 2020. The preliminary 3D results have validated the direct hydrocarbon indicators and thick reservoir development, confirming the resource potential of the Paddavissie Fairway. The preliminary results of the 3D seismic also increases our confidence in the sedimentological and structural interpretation and has been integral in selecting the location for the next exploration well on Block 11B/12B, the Luiperd prospect, which is expected to spud in the second quarter of 2020.

The joint venture partnership continues to integrate the preliminary 3D seismic with the analysis of the core samples and the modular formation dynamics tester (“MDT”) samples. The core indicates a high net to gross in the main objective with good intergranular porosity and permeability. The MDT samples confirmed the high liquid yield in the main gas condensate zone of the main and deep reservoirs.

In July 2019, the operator entered into a multi-well drilling contract with Odfjell Drilling for the Deepsea Stavanger semisubmersible rig, the same rig that drilled the Brulpadda discovery earlier in 2019. The rig is currently under contract with AkerBP in the North Sea and is expected to return to South Africa in the first quarter of 2020. Total is preparing a robust year-round drilling solution for the deepwater environment on Block 11B/12B. Drilling is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020 and continue through the austral winter for 10 months, including up to three exploration wells.

In December 2019, the operator commenced the second phase of 3D seismic across the Paddavissie Fairway, as well as a broader 2D seismic program to the east of the Paddavissie Fairway. For the 3D program, the operator has contracted Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (“PGS”) to acquire approximately 2,200 square kilometers of 3D seismic using the PGS Apollo seismic vessel to cover the primary Paddavissie prospects and additional prospectivity to the north. For the 2D seismic, the operator contracted Shearwater GeoServices Holding AS (“Shearwater”) to acquire an initial program of 3,650 linear kilometers of 2D seismic using the Multi-Purpose Vessel (MPV) SW Cook with fast-track processing onboard.  The joint venture recently increased the scope of the initial program. The 2D seismic program will attempt to define the lead and prospect inventory of the large under-explored area in Block 11B/12B to the east of the Paddavissie prospects.

Africa Energy holds a 4.9% effective interest in the Exploration Right for Block 11B/12B. The Company owns 49% of the shares in Main Street 1549 Proprietary Limited, which has a 10% participating interest in the block. Total as operator holds a 45% participating interest in Block 11B/12B, while Qatar Petroleum and CNRI hold 25% and 20%, respectively.