TotalEnergies and Shell are considering drilling oil exploration wells on the southwest coast of South Africa, reported Bloomberg News.

The move comes months after two previous attempts to undertake seismic surveys off the coast of the country faced legal challenges.

SLR Consulting has been contracted to conduct an environmental assessment for the proposed exploration programme.

In the notice, seen by Bloomberg, SLR said that TotalEnergies is seeking comments from “interested and affected” companies. It also invited the potential firms to participate in public meetings regarding the proposed programme.

SLR said: “The main purpose of the pre-application phase is to provide initial notification to stakeholders and, specifically, to identify and develop the stakeholder database for the project.”

TotalEnergies plans to undertake exploration drilling on one well in the area. Based on successful drilling, the work will include as many as four more wells.

On behalf of TotalEnergies, a notice has been issued in three languages in South Africa. It included a detailed exploration plan for a 10,000km² part of a block, off the coast between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.

Located between 60km and 170km offshore, the block covers water depths ranging from 700m to 3.2km.

The government’s Petroleum Oil and Gas Corp. of South Africa is a partner in the proposed programme.

In 2019 and 2020, TotalEnergies announced two gas condensate discoveries off the South African coast.

In a separate announcement in Mozambique, Societe Generale (SocGen) has been selected by Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) as the financial adviser for its plan to refinance a stake in the Eni-led $7bn Coral floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, reported Bloomberg News.

The move comes as the Mozambican state entity intends to capitalise on surging gas prices, which have increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mozambique Finance Minister Max Tonela said: “Now it’s more attractive for them and less risky to be involved.

“Now, ENH has more ability to raise finance to play their role as a concessionaire.”

The Coral project, which is located off Mozambique’s northern coast, is planned to start production by October 2022.

Earlier this month, TotalEnergies announced that it had agreed to collaborate with Sempra Energy on LNG exports to help reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy.