PetroSA, Cairn India to explore Orange basin offshore South Africa
BY DEVON MAYLIE
JOHANNESBURG--South Africa's national oil company PetroSA and India's largest private oil producer, Cairn India, have signed an agreement to explore for oil and gas off the coast of South Africa. The two companies said they signed a farm-in agreement, for an undisclosed amount, to explore in the Orange basin Block 1 on the west coast of South Africa with water depths ranging from 100 m to 900 m.
Cairn India will hold a 60% interest in the block, through a wholly owned South African subsidiary, and will be the operator, with PetroSA holding the remaining interest. Block 1 covers a large area of 19,922 sq km and is currently in the initial stages of exploration. It has an existing gas discovery and identified oil and gas leads and prospects. Located in the geologically-proven Orange Basin along the north-western maritime border of South Africa with Namibia, the block is on trend with the discovered Kudu and Ibhubesi gas fields.
The Orange basin has attracted interest from other companies, but is underexplored. Royal Dutch Shell and Anadarko Petroleum, which are developing gas deposits off the coast of Mozambique, are also active in the Orange basin. PetroSA acquired a 1500 sq. km. 3D seismic survey in 2009.
PetroSA has been teaming up with international companies to develop other aspects of the energy infrastructure. In May, the South African company said it will build a refinery in partnership with Sinopec. The exploration agreement marks Cairn's first move outside of India and Sri Lanka.
Dow Jones Newswires