TotalEnergies, QatarEnergy Boost Oil Exploration in South Africa

by Motoni Olodun

TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy have announced a deal to acquire stakes in a promising offshore exploration license in South Africa, expanding their presence in the Orange Basin.

The two energy giants signed an agreement with Africa Oil South Africa, Azinam, and Ricocure to buy participating interests in Block 3B/4B, which covers an area of 17,581 square kilometers, 200 kilometers off the western coast of South Africa.

TotalEnergies will hold a 33% interest and become the operator of the block, while QatarEnergy will hold a 24% interest. The remaining interests will be held by the existing license holders, Africa Oil SA (17%), Ricocure (19.75%) and Azinam (6.25%).

The transaction Is subject to final approvals from relevant authorities, according to a statement from TotalEnergies on Wednesday.

Block 3B/4B is adjacent to the DWOB license, where TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy already have a 50% and 30% stake respectively, along with Sezigyn (20%). The DWOB license is home to the Venus discovery, a major gas find in Namibia that was announced in 2020.

“Following the Venus success in Namibia, TotalEnergies is continuing to progress its exploration effort in the Orange Basin, by entering this promising exploration license in South Africa,” said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice-President Exploration of TotalEnergies.

The Orange Basin Is considered one of the most prolific oil and gas regions in Africa, with several discoveries and prospects. The basin spans across the maritime borders of South Africa and Namibia, and has attracted interest from several international oil companies.

TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy are among the leading players in the global oil and gas industry, with operations in more than 130 countries. The two companies have partnered in several projects across the world, including the North Field expansion in Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

TotalEnergies has been present in South Africa since 1954, when it started distributing petroleum products. Today, the company is a leading player in renewables, fuel marketing and services, lubricant blending, refining and exploration and production in the country.

The company is also developing a 120 MW solar plant and a 140 MW wind farm in the Northern Cape province to supply green electricity to the Sasol’s Secunda site, where Air Liquide operates the biggest oxygen production site in the world.

QatarEnergy is the international arm of Qatar Petroleum, the state-owned oil and gas company of Qatar. The company has a portfolio of assets in 22 countries across four continents, covering upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.

The company Is also a major investor in South Africa’s energy sector, having acquired a 25% stake in the Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique, which is expected to start production in 2025

The deal between TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy is expected to boost the oil and gas exploration activities in South Africa, which has been lagging behind other African countries in terms of production and reserves.

South Africa currently produces about 160,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, mostly from offshore fields, and imports most of its oil and gas needs. The country has an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent of undiscovered resources, according to the US Geological Survey.

The government of South Africa has been keen to attract more investment in the oil and gas sector, as part of its efforts to diversify its energy mix and reduce its dependence on coal. The country has also launched a gas-to-power program, which aims to use natural gas as a cleaner and cheaper alternative to coal for electricity generation.

The acquisition of Block 3B/4B by TotalEnergies and QatarEnergy is a sign of confidence in South Africa’s oil and gas potential, and a hope for a more sustainable and prosperous future for the country and its people.

Source: Oil Review Africa

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