TotalEnergies Looks To Explore Oil Where Environmentalists Blocked Shell In S/Africa

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Following the blockade of Shell by environmentalists in South Africa, French supermajor TotalEnergies, has signaled plans to explore for oil and gas in the same offshore South Africa.

Reports say TotalEnergies plans to drill one well at a location in the Deep Orange Basin, off the west coast of South Africa. If results are good, nine more wells could be drilled, SLR Consulting, the company carrying out the environmental assessment, said on its website, as quoted by Bloomberg last weekend.

SLR Consulting said earlier this month that TotalEnergies EP South Africa (TEEPSA) and its partners have applied for Environmental Authorization to undertake exploration activities in Deep Orange Basin (DWOB) off the West Coast of South Africa.

TotalEnergies made in February a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect in the Orange Basin offshore southern Namibia, to the waters offshore South Africa, where the company plans to explore for more oil.

Also Read: Boosted Europe’s Energy Crisis, TotalEnergies Posts Record Quarterly Profit

The initial results are “very promising” in the so-called Orange Basin, Kevin McLachlan, senior vice of exploration at TotalEnergies, said at the time.

Venus in Namibia could be a “giant oil and gas discovery,” TotalEnergies said in an investor presentation in September. Appraisal and testing are slated for 2023.

But a TotalEnergies exploration and campaign in the Orange Basin offshore South Africa could meet resistance from local communities and environmental groups. 

Shell, which also made a large discovery in the Orange Basin offshore Namibia earlier this year, recently saw a setback in its exploration efforts offshore South Africa.

Also Read: TotalEnergies Set To Spin off Canadian Oil Assets

In September, the High Court in Makhanda ruled that Shell’s exploration right to conduct seismic surveys on the Wild Coast of South Africa was granted unlawfully and therefore set it aside.

The ruling “is a monumental victory for the planet, won by Wild Coast communities,” Greenpeace said, while Shell said it was “reviewing the judgment to determine our next steps regarding the Wild Coast block.” 

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