French gas and oil giant Total SA has sent one of its rigs to the shores of South Africa in order to conduct a survey in search for more crude deposits near the Brulpadda oil field, the company’s partner Africa Energy Corp stated. The vessel, called the Deepsea Stavanger, has sailed from off the coast of Norway and is currently on its way to its new destination.
Africa Energy Corp added that it will also be drilling a well jointly with Total at the Luiperd prospect off the coast of South Africa and expects to wrap up the work by September.
The one-billion-barrel rich Brulpadda was found by Total in February 2019, around 175 kilometres (109 miles) off the South African coast, and was also drilled by the Deepsea Stavanger. However, the new plans for a geological survey come as a surprise, as the global crude market is still recovering from a massive price shock that it sustained during the spring.
Total was also not exempt from the shock, cutting shareholders' returns and company spending following the drop in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent overproduction. Back in April, the credit rating agency Moody's changed its forecast for Total to negative, but since then the company's shares have grown as the oil market has started to revive, partially due to lockdowns being lifted, and partially due to the signing of a new OPEC+ deal on extraction cuts.
In April 2020, the futures for the WTI oil blend, one of the most popular ones, fell below zero in an unprecedented market U-turn, but since then it has bounced back to $40 per barrel. Another blend, Brent, also suffered a historic drop, but has climbed back up to the level of April 2016, with the price at $42.8 per barrel as of 3 July.