France's Total to explore offshore South Africa in 2014

CAPE TOWN Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:22am EST

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CAPE TOWN Nov 27 (Reuters) - France's Total will drill an exploration well off the coast of South Africa in 2014 in a new phase of exploration also targeting Kenya and the Ivory Coast, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

In September Total acquired a 50 percent interest in Block 11B/12B from CNR International, a subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

"Total becomes the operator of the block which covers an area of about 19,000 sq km and where we will drill next year our first exploration well," Abiodun Afolabi, Total's general secretary for Africa, told an oil and gas conference in Cape Town.

The field is situated in the Outeniqua Basin, about 175 km (110 miles) off the southern coast of South Africa, which was drawing record exploration interest from oil majors such as Shell and Exxon Mobil.

Afolabi said that South African authorities had also granted permission to convert a technical cooperation permit on another block, Outeniqua South, where the company hopes to shoot 7,000 km of 2D seismic data.

Total is aiming for a production target of three million barrels of oil a day by 2017, with deep-water production in Africa a key driver, he said.

"We expect to see an increasing proportion of the operated production in Africa coming from the deep offshore, (which) has risen steadily from 34 percent in 2006 to 72 percent in 2012," Afolabi said.

He added that Africa accounts for approximately a third of the group's hydrocarbon production, with Total also supplying about 15 percent of the continent's downstream market, some 14 million tonnes of petroleum products a year.

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