Ongoing deep-sea exploration in the Western Cape should boost investor confidence and contribute positively to the oceans economy.
This is according to minister of mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, who led a delegation to the Total Exploration and Production Southern Africa’s Deep Sea Stavenger Rig operations on Saturday (2 February).
The rig is situated approximately 180km off the shore of Mossel Bay.
“If we can discover oil and gas here, that will be a game changer for the country in terms of the economy,” Mantashe said.
“We hope that we will discover oil so that we can reduce our dependence on imported crude oil.
“We will work with other government departments in giving the project all the support we can, because we believe that it will help support a turnaround in our economy,” he said.
While the extent of the oil discovery in the Western Cape has not yet been made public, Total has hinted that the signs were positive for a major discovery.
Speaking to Reuters, two industry sources close to the project say the potential for a discovery is high and could signal a game-changer not only for Total, but also for the country.
While Total has said the field could hold between 500 million to over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, one of its partners in the project is more upbeat.
“The outlook for finding hydrocarbons is extremely high. The question is whether it is gas or oil, and whether it is a good-quality reservoir,” Keith Hill, CEO of Africa Oil Corp , a minority stakeholder in the field, told Reuters, adding that the field could hold 1.5 to 3 billion barrels.