By Toyin Akinosho
TOTAL will return to drilling in the ‘Cape Of Storms’ in late 2017, a full year and several months after the original planned date.
The French major halted drilling in Block 11B/12B in South Africa’s offshore Outeniqua Basin in November 2014 because of mechanical problems on the rig, caused by the challenging environment in the Agulhas, with its chaotic combination of currents, waves and winds, which contrasts sharply with the mild metocean conditions of the West African deepwater.
“There’s only a small window in the year that we can drill in this part of the continent”, a ranking TOTAL earth science executive said on the side of the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa. “The place is quite turbulent.”
Asked to comment on TOTAL’s programe for its South African operations, Guy Maurice, the company’s senior Vice President E&P Africa responded in the negative: “No, I don’t want to make any declarations today”. It was he (Maurice) who announced a halt to drilling of the Outeniqa well at the same conference in October 2014.
South Africa is not anywhere high on TOTAL’s upstream ranking, at least for 2017. Mr. Maurice’s conference presentation included activity in Angola, Nigeria, even Cote d’Ivoire. He gave a date for Final Investment Decision on its planned field development in Uganda, but South Africa was clearly missing.