The French major has no time to lose if it is to achieve its goal of starting production on the South African offshore block by 2026-2027. There are still the rights, final investment decision, pipeline connection and numerous other administrative and logistical tasks to work out.
The operator of South African oil field 3B/4B, Africa Oil (20%), is impatiently awaiting the drilling of the Namibian Venus prospect (oil field 2913B) that TotalEnergies (ex-Total) and Qatar Petroleum (QP) are due to carry out in September.
The French major says it has suspended the preliminary process of drilling a new well on its South African block to allow it to focus on two existing discoveries. But the move is actually aimed at stepping up pressure on Pretoria.
To try to limit the impact of the recession which is looming after several months of public health crisis, the South African government is banking on the prospect of gas revenues to come and has rolled out the red carpet for Total.