Namibia Drilling Heating Up With Two Wells In Two Weeks
Drilling for oil in Namibia is heating up with another oil major spudding an exploration well in the country’s offshore, the second in two weeks.
Namely, Shell spud an exploration well in the offshore Orange Basin using one of Valaris’ drillships. The drilling started on the Graff-1 well, located in Block 2913A where Shell is the operator and is partnered by QatarEnergy and Namibia’s national oil company Namcor.
QatarEnergy and Namcor will be a recurring theme here as they were involved in a TotalEnergies well spud only two weeks ago. To remind, the Qatari company became Shell’s partner in two exploration blocks off Namibia – Block 2913A and Block 2914B – in April 2021.
Both blocks are within the PEL 39 exploration license, located in ultra-deepwater depths of around 8,200 feet. The license covers around 4,750 square miles.
The Graff-1 well is being drilled by the Valaris DS-10 drillship. Shell hired the rig for the drilling of two wells in August 2021. The rig won two one-well contracts which should last around 120 days in total. The rig was not only hired for work off Namibia but also for drilling off Sao Tome and Principe. The deal for Namibian work was scheduled to start first.
According to data available on Valaris’ website, the Valaris DS-10 started working for Shell off Namibia in November 2021 and will complete work under the deal in January 2022. The contract for Sao Tome and Principe work will start in February 2022.
According to Namcor’s announcement, the spud of the well was quite a milestone for the company and “Namibia as a whole.”
Shell’s spud of the Graff exploration well in Namibia closely follows TotalEnergies spud of the Venus-1X deepwater well, located in Namibia Block 2913B – part of PEL 56.
As previously mentioned, QatarEnergy and Namcor are TotalEnergies’ partners in this block and the Venus-1X well. QatarEnergies became involved in Block 2913B where Venus is located as well as Block 2912 in August 2019 via a farm-in deal with the French oil major. The Venus deepwater well is being drilled using the Maersk Voyager drillship.
Another company made an announcement regarding the spud of both wells. This company is Pancontinental Energy which is the operator of PEL 87 offshore Namibia. They see the drilling of the two wells as highly important as both Venus and Graff are being drilled on-trend to Pancontinental’s giant PEL 87 Saturn oil play.
“This is a very exciting time for Pancontinental, with the huge oil potential of our Saturn turbidite complex in PEL 87 being drilled on-trend by Shell and Total,” Pancontinental Technical Director Barry Rushworth said.
“These wells are recognized worldwide as two of the most important oil exploration wells of the year. Total’s Venus-1 well spudded recently, and now Shell has started its Graff-1 well. Pancontinental’s Saturn turbidite complex is geologically similar in many ways, particularly to the Venus prospect,” he added.
“These turbidite plays are like very large oil fields elsewhere in Africa, triggering significant interest in offshore Namibia from major oil companies and Africa specialists. In this prime region, drilling success could open up a completely new African oil play,” Rushworth concluded.
Also, Pancontinental is the only junior energy company positioned alongside industry majors as an operator in Namibia’s possibly prolific offshore play. Its partners in PEL 87 are Custos Investments and Namcor.
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