An interest in an oil and gas exploration concession in the Outeniqua Basin, off South Africa’s southern coast, has been purchased by Qatar Petroleum. The company bought a 25% interest in the concession from French oil and gas giant Total for an undisclosed amount.

Following regulatory approval, the ownership of Exploration Block 11B/12B will be 45% Total, 25% Qatar Petroleum, 20% CNR International and 10% Main Street. Total will be the operator of the concession.

Qatar petroleum buys stake in local offshore exploration

Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19,000km², with water depths ranging from 200m to 1.8km. Strong currents off South Africa’s coast make drilling challenging, and when Total began drilling for deep-sea oil in this block in 2014, it was forced to stop because of mechanical problems. Drilling will resume at the end of 2018.

“This agreement is another step by Qatar Petroleum … in expanding and reinforcing Qatar’s leading position in the field of energy across the globe. We are pleased to join our long-time partner Total in exploration activities in this frontier block offshore South Africa,” says Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar Petroleum’s CEO. According to him, the drilling of an exploration well is planned for this year.

Qatar seeks to expand its gas capacity to 100 million tonnes a year from its current 77 million to cement its position as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Reuters reported last year that Qatar’s traditional partners Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total had all shown interest in new projects. Total is seen as a front-runner to pick up more LNG business in Qatar, and opening an opportunity for Qatar Petroleum to join its global operations has strengthened Total’s position.

Image credit: https://twitter.com/qatarpetroleum/status/882158812022558720


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