On February 7, Total announced a significant achievement off the coast of South Africa: the discovery of an important gas condensate field on the Brulpadda (“bullfrog” in Afrikaans) prospect deep offshore. João Amaral, Vice President, General Affairs and Exploration Affiliates, Africa for Total Exploration & Production, discusses follow-up prospects to the recent discovery in South Africa.
What prospects does this discovery offer?
João Amaral / In addition to the Brulpadda discovery, there are several equally promising prospects in the northeast section of the block, as well as on the adjacent South Outeniqua block, also operated by Total. For this reason, we can talk about the opening of a new gas province in its own right. With this discovery, our Group has rekindled its historic pioneering role in exploration in Africa, both as an operator and a leader. For coal-dependent South Africa, the find represents an opportunity to reduce its energy imports, diversify its energy mix and give new impetus to regional development.
More broadly, how does South Africa rank in relation to the rest of the continent?
J. A. / It’s one of the largest African economies. It enjoys a stable political environment that’s propitious to the development of oil operations, despite its economy traditionally having been dominated by the mining industry. Together with neighboring Namibia, Southern Africa is today considered a deep offshore exploration hotspot, similarly to West Africa, which includes Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Both of these little-explored strategic regions are potential growth drivers for our Exploration and Production activities on the continent. As a local operator, our Group occupies a privileged position with a diversified and high-quality acreage. There are many chapters still to be written in Total’s oil history on the African continent.
Key areas in sub-Saharan Africa for our E&P activities
The Group’s production in sub-Saharan Africa is currently led by the “four sisters” of the Gulf of Guinea: Angola, Nigeria, Congo and Gabon. The Gulf of Guinea is both a key region and a prime asset for our Group. Home to ten floating, production and storage units – with an eleventh currently on the way to Kaombo – the area is a showcase for the Group’s deep offshore expertise and accounts for about 25% of its production. The Tilenga onshore oil development project in Lake Albert in Uganda and its ancillary pipeline will be one of the new source of growth on the continent. Apart from its exploration stakes in mature affiliates in the Gulf of Guinea, Total is positioning itself in two other strategic exploration areas in sub-Saharan Africa: West Africa – primarily via stakes in several exploration blocks in Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire – and Namibia and South Africa on the southern tip of the continent.