French energy major TotalEnergies is planning to launch an exploration campaign in the Orange Basin offshore South Africa’s west coast. Having recently applied for environmental authorization to explore the deepwater basin alongside project partners, the company plans to conduct a drilling campaign following the necessary approvals.
Plans to explore South Africa’s side of the basin follow the company’s sizeable discovery on the Venus prospect in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia earlier this year, with TotalEnergies eager to mirror similar upstream success further south.
The French major is planning on kickstarting the exploration campaign by drilling one well, and depending on its success, will drill a further nine wells soon thereafter.
International environmental consultancy firm SLR Consulting is currently conducting an environmental assessment. The area of interest has been met with ongoing community and environmental opposition with activists criticizing previous consultation processes. However, with the environmental assessment underway, and the government regulator in charge of licensing pledging to improve outreach processes, both community and environmental protection has been placed at the forefront.
For South Africa, the potential discovery of hydrocarbons in the Orange Basin comes at a time when the country continues to face uncertainty regarding prices and supplies owing to volatility in global energy markets and rapidly increasing demand in the domestic market. As such, the exploration campaign could bring online the supplies the country needs to create stability and ensure security for years to come.