The news came just hours before President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a state of the nation address, his final one before crucial elections due in May this year.
The Block 11B/12B covers an area of 19,000 square kilometers, with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters, and is operated by Total with a 45% working interest, alongside Qatar Petroleum (25%), CNR worldwide (20%) and Main Street, a South African consortium (10%).
This is after drilling at its Brulpadda prospects in the Outeniqua basin, about 175 kilometers off the coast of Southern Africa.
"Last night I received a call from Minister Gwede Mantashe, when he told me that the oil giant Total would be making a big announcement today about a new world-class oil and gas discovery off the coast of South Africa", said Ramaphosa to applause.
Total holds a 45% stake in the block, alongside Qatari, Canadian and South African firms.
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The company has announced that it has made a massive gas condensate discovery.
He described the site as a "challenging deep-water environment". This much awaited discovery will bring about a lot of benefits for the people of South Africa. "Having said that, the region is quite hard to operate: huge waves, the weather isn't very easy". "Mainly gas. There are four other prospects on the licence that we have to drill; it could be around 1 billion barrels of total resources of gas and condensate", Pouyanne said.
The deep-water discovery by Total could trigger a new wave of investment in South Africa. As you know the fuel price has been a real thorn in the flesh of many South Africans.
"The oil industry hopes this will be a catalyst and encouragement for all policy-makers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa", he said.
South Africa's economy has lurched into recession several times in recent years, and even this year GDP growth is expected to be less than 2 per cent, below the rate of population growth.
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