South Africa Opens Up Deepwater Acreage

Petroleum Geo-Services ASA and Petroleum Agency SA have announced a joint co-operation agreement to promote deepwater exploration acreage offshore South Africa. The two will work in an area known as the Orange Basin, situated off the west coast. The area, totaling approximately 160,000 square kilometers, will be open to future licensing by exploration companies.

PGS will acquire and market high quality 2D seismic data in collaboration with Petroleum Agency SA. The agreement also includes the re-processing of certain existing 2D seismic data.

PGS, together with the Petroleum Agency SA, will interpret the new and re-processed data to assess regional hydrocarbon prospectivity and identify areas of specific interest. This data will form the substantial part of data packages, which the two will use in promoting exploration opportunities in the area to the international oil industry.

The survey will commence in the first quarter 2002. Phase I consists of approximately 3,750 line kilometers of new high quality 2D seismic data. The survey will focus on the deepwater areas of Block 2B and the west of Blocks 5 and 6.

Exploration to date in the Orange Basin has concentrated on the shelf, in water depths of less than 1,640 feet, with numerous gas/condensate discoveries and one oil discovery proving the existence of active petroleum systems.

The deepwater potential is untested, however there are good indications that the oil prone nature of the Aptian source rock increases with distance from the shore in terms of both quality and maturity, PGS said. The new 2D seismic data will allow for a more complete understanding of the hydrocarbon potential of the deepwater Orange Basin, it said.