TotalEnergies has spudded a critical and highly anticipated appraisal probe offshore Namibia that will go a long way to revealing the scale of its potentially huge Venus oil and gas discovery.

Venus was discovered a year ago in Block 2913B in about 3000 metres of water, with the market speculation emerging at the time that the Orange basin find could hold 12 billion barrels of oil and many trillions of cubic feet of gas.