TOTAL Takes More Stake in South Africa as It Sweeps for Region wide, “Greater Venus” Development - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

TOTAL Takes More Stake in South Africa as It Sweeps for Region wide, “Greater Venus” Development

By Toyin Akinosho

French major TOTALEnergies has grabbed more stake in the South African part of the prolific Orange Basin, in a quest for accelerated appraisal to unlock a commercial project at the field perimeter of the Venus discovery offshore Namibia and encompassing South Africa.

The European giant signed, together with its partner QatarEnergy, an agreement to acquire participating interests in Block 3B/4B, offshore South Africa, from Africa Oil Corp., Azinam (a wholly owned subsidiary of Eco Atlantic Oil and Gas) and Ricocure.

The transaction is coming less than three months after the company took more share in the Namibian part of the same basin.

Just like its last grab in Namibia TOTAL is taking these South African interests along with its partner, Qatar Energy.

The deal had been widely anticipated for some time by analysts. Africa Oil Corp., Eco Atlantic and Ricocure belong to a class of companies who, as a rule, acquire assets and work towards wooing well-heeled companies like TOTAL, to purchase, large, operating stakes in those properties. In effect, these companies treat hydrocarbon assets, in frontier basins, as items of real estate.

Following completion of the transaction, TOTALEnergies will hold a 33% participating interest in Block 3B/4B and assume operatorship, while QatarEnergy will hold a 24% interest.

The remaining interests will be held by existing license holders, Africa Oil (17%), Ricocure (19.75%) and Azinam (6.25%). The transaction is subject to final approvals from relevant authorities.

In Namibia in November 2023, TOTALEnergies s signed an agreement to acquire an additional 10.5% participating interest in block 2913B and an additional 9.39% participating interest in block 2912, from Impact Oil and Gas.

THE INSPIRATION FOR TOTAL’S CONTINUOUS GRAB of assets in both countries, is the Venus discovery and its adjoining prospective enclave.

The 2Billion Barrel (recoverable oil equivalent reserves) Venus accumulation, stored in 3,000metres below the seabed in the South Atlantic Ocean, has inspired, for TOTAL, a regionwide exploration and appraisal strategy in Southern Africa.

TOTAL said  at the Africa Energy Week in November 2023 that it would acquire new seismic data and drill several appraisal wells as well as exploratory upsides.
“Venus has opened a new chapter in TOTALEnergies exploration, with very significant running room over our vast exploration acreage in the area”, said Clement Fleury, lead author of a geoscience paper focusing on the follow up of the play opening discovery.
The company also said it would be launching a regional exploration drilling programme “in the coming years in both Namibia and South Africa”.
Mr. Fleury’s paper added that TOTAL  was working on “intensive exploration and appraisal efforts on blocks 2912 and 2913b in Namibia and taking advantage of its leading acreage position in South Africa”, to sweep the region for leads, prospects and developments.

Located within the prolific Orange basin, 200 km off the western coast of South Africa, Block 3B/4B covers an area of 17,581 km2. Block 3B/4B is adjacent to the DWOB license operated by TotalEnergies (50%) alongside QatarEnergy (30%) and Sezigyn (20%).

“Following the Venus success in Namibia, TotalEnergies is continuing to progress its Exploration effort in the Orange Basin, by entering this promising exploration license in South Africa”, said Kevin McLachlan, Senior Vice-President Exploration of TOTALEnergies.


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