Total, a French oil company, has made their biggest offshore oil discovery in South Africa after a successful natural gas drill in cape coast.
According to the company the discovery was made on Block 11B/12B located 180 kilometers of the country’s southern coast.
It also estimates that the reservoir may hold between 500 million and 1 Billion barrels of oil, enough to supply the country’s refineries for the next four years.
The French oil giant maintains a 45% stake in the shared exploration field 11B/12B, popular for its harsh conditions.
While it has maintained control of the exploration areas for decades, the company stopped drilling operations in 2014 citing harsh off-shore conditions that are characterized by huge waves.
It would, however, resume operations after importing a rig from Norway that proved effective in finding deep sea reserves.
While making the announcement, Total’s Vice President for exploration, Kevin McLachlan, mentioned that the discovery puts the company and country on the list of major gas and oil players in the world.
Moving forward, he mentioned that the company would continue to conduct several tests as a follow up of the block’s prospects.
He further added that the oil giant plans to acquire 3D seismic data and drill up to four exploration wells before year-end.
The discovery might see a spike in the number of exploration companies interested in the block as well as increased rush by current players.
These include Qatar Petroleum Company, CNR International, and South Africa’s Main Street Consortium that hold 25%, 20%, and 10% stake in the said block respectively.