When Total announced during the 2019 Mining Indaba that it had found offshore gas deposits at its Brulpadda prospects in the Outeniqua basin, some 175km off the coast of South Africa, everyone in attendance knew that it was a big deal.
But while political parties have welcomed the development, a great deal of work still lies ahead in making the most of the find. The results of the future wells to be drilled would determine and define the extent of a future development plan.
Fin24 spoke to Total’s General Manager Total Exploration and Production in South Africa, Adewale Fayemi, for more insight.
Fin24: When does Total plan on starting operations to extract these condensate gas deposits?
AF: Operations to extract these gas condensate deposits is contingent on a number of activities. As disclosed in the press release, Total and its partners plan to acquire 3D seismic this year, followed by up to four exploration wells on this license.
It will be only after all these activities have been completed and an appraisal is done that a field development plan will be agreed between the partners, and proposed to the authorities for approval.
Fin24: What is the estimated value of the deposit found in this area?
AF: It is very important to note that the well was drilled successfully, the existence of a petroleum province offshore South Africa is confirmed, and a lot of data as well as core and fluid samples have been obtained which are currently being analysed and interpreted.
The findings will provide a better understanding of the Brulpadda prospect and enable us to quantify the volume of the discovery.
Fin24: What is the potential for job creation with this find and the related operations?
AF: We have a commitment to the furtherance of the objectives of Section 2(D) and 2 (F) of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) 2002, which seek to substantially and meaningfully expand opportunities for Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs), including women, to enter the petroleum industry and benefit from the exploitation of the nation’s petroleum resources on the one hand, and to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of all South Africans.
Total's plan is to attain these objectives through training and skills development of HDSAs; giving preference in procurement to manufactured or produced in South Africa equipment, materials, and instruments; making use of HDSA contractors whose services and standards are competitive with those outside South Africa; employing HDSAs that meet required qualifications and experience and also implementing a programme for the future recruitment of HDSAs.
Fin24: Has Total received any message of concern for potential environmental impact as a result of this discovery and related exploration? How has Total responded?
Total prides itself in the robust approach to environmental protection and the core principle of ‘no net loss’.
Safety is a core value of the company and no operation is undertaken if it cannot be done safely. Total will engage and take interested parties through its procedures and mitigation measures in the very unlikely event of an incident.
Fin24: Since oil and gas exploration has been removed from the Mining Charter and separate laws for the sub-sector are set to be released after the May elections, how confident is Total in securing licensing to continue beyond exploration wells?
AF: Oil and gas exploration has been removed from the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) 2002, with the intention of providing separate legislation for the industry. Total is confident in the South African legislative process that this legislation will be passed and timely.