Oil and gas major, Total, has commenced the drilling of the Luiperd-1X well prospect on Block 11B/12B offshore South Africa.

The drilling of the second exploration well on the block follows the Brulpadda discovery in February 2019. The Odfjell Drilling-owned Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible drilling rig that arrived in South Africa earlier this month is being used for the drilling.

The block covers an area of approximately 19,000 square kilometres with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters. It is located in the Outeniqua Basin 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa.

The Luiperd-1X is the second prospect to be drilled in a series of five large submarine fan prospects with direct hydrocarbon indicators defined utilising both 2D and 3D seismic data.

One of the partners, Africa Energy, announced on Friday, 28th August 2020, that the Luiperd-1X exploration well is being drilled in 1,795 meters of water by the Stavanger rig to a total depth of 3,550 meters subsea.

The drilling and evaluation of the well are targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020. The well is to test the potential of oil and gas in a mid-Cretaceous aged deep marine sequence where fan sandstone systems are developed within combined stratigraphic/structural closure.

Total Exploration and Production South Africa B.V. is the operator of the block. Total holds a 45% working interest in the block, Qatar Petroleum has a 25% interest, CNR International has a 20% interest, and Africa Energy has 49% shares in Main Street 1549 who has a 10% interest.

In July, the drilling of the well was said to be scheduled for September as it had to be postponed earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the timely arrival of the Stavanger and the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa has hastened the resumption of the drilling.