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Royal Dutch Shell a multinational exploration and production company as an operator in partnership with with Qatari state-owned petroleum company, QatarEnergy, and Namibia’s national oil company (NOC), Namcor have announced spudding the Graff-1 oil exploration well in Block 2913A, located in the Orange Basin, offshore Namibia.

The drilling was confirmed by National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) chief executive officer Immanuel Mulunga, who said the process started on 9 December and is expected to last 45 days. Namcor reported that Shell Namibia Upstream is operating the well with QatarEnergy.

“This is quite a milestone for us and the country as a whole and [we] look forward to the well results,” Mulunga said. The well is being drilled using the Valaris-owned Ensco DS-10 drillship. The drillship had previously been hired by Shell for two well-drilling operations in August this year, with the rig having recently won two one-well contracts to operate offshore Namibia and the island-nation of Sao Tome and Principe, with each contract lasting for an estimated 60 days. The deal specified that Namibian operations had been scheduled to commence first, starting its contract in November 2021, with its end-date set for January 2022.

Namcor also holds another 10% equity in TotalEnergies, said Mulunga. He said the state-owned company had not spent any money on the projects but should there be any discoveries, they will “pay them back 10% of exploration costs”.“We look forward to the results around February,” Mulunga said.

Shell has been partnered with QatarEneries since April this year, operating in Namibia’s offshore Blocks 2913A and 2914B, both of which are located within the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) 39, covering an area of approximately 12,300km2, and located in ultra-deepwater depths of up to 2,500m.

Shell had been weighing up three prospects on the block before opting for Graff. Shell, one of the oil and gas super majors – measured by 2020 revenues, is the 19th-largest company in the world. The company shot 7 500 square kilometres of 3D seismic off Namibia in 2019.

TotalEnergies spudded the Venus well on 1 December on the adjacent Block 2913B. It is drilling this well in 3 000 metres of water, with the Maersk Voyager.The Graff-1 is targeting a shallower area than Venus.

Tullow Oil has a licence to the north of TotalEnergies’ Block 2913B, while Galp has the licence to the north of Shell’s block.The Kudu gas field is north-east of Shell’s Graff-1 well, where BW Energy is working on a power development plan.

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