Total has contracted Odfjell Drilling’s sixth-generation semisubmersible Deepsea Stavanger rig for the next phase of drilling on Block 11B/12B offshore South Africa.

Situated in the Outeniqua Basin 175km off the southern coast of South Africa, Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19,000km2 with water depths ranging from 200m to 1,800m. The Lower Cretaceous Post-rift Paddavissie Fairway, which features the Brulpadda discovery, is located within the southwest corner of the block.

Total’s initial attempt to drill the Brulpadda prospect in 2014 was halted before reaching target because of difficulties experienced by the drilling rig in the harsh deepwater environment.

Following extensive review of the surface conditions, the French energy firm contracted the Odfjell Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible rig to drill the Brulpadda-1AX re-entry well in December 2018.

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, which has a 10% participating interest in the block. Total operates and holds a 45% participating interest in Block 11B/12B, while Qatar Petroleum and CNRI hold 25% and 20% stakes, respectively.

Africa Energy president and CEO Garrett Soden said: “We are very pleased that Total was able to secure the Deepsea Stavanger rig again for the next phase of drilling on Block 11B/12B offshore South Africa. Using the same equipment and crew that drilled the Brulpadda oil and gas discovery earlier this year should save time and reduce cost.

“We look forward to starting the multi-well drilling program with the spud of the Luiperd Prospect in Q1-2020.”

Africa Energy said the success at both the Brulpadda primary and secondary targets de-risks the other similar prospects discovered on 2D seismic.

The initial phase of the 3D seismic acquisition programme over the Paddavissie Fairway has recently been completed by the joint venture partnership for Block 11B/12B. The Brulpadda well results will be integrated with the 3D seismic data ahead of drilling programme in 2020, which will include up to three exploration wells.