London and Toronto-listed Eco Atlantic and its partners have chartered a rig to drill a much-awaited exploration well in mid-2022 in South Africa's Orange basin.

This frontier basin has become one of the world's hot exploration plays following the recent successes of TotalEnergies' and Shell's huge Venus and Graff oil discoveries offshore Namibia.

According to Eco Atlantic - which is set to assume operatorship of block 2B - the asset partners have signed a contract with Island Drilling to deploy its Island Innovator semi-submersible for the Gazania-1 probe.

Located in shallow water, the Gazania prospect is estimated to hold potential resources of about 350 million barrels.

The block partners are Africa Energy, with a 27.5% stake, Panoro on 12.5% and Crown Energy which has an indirect 10% interest.

Target: Block 2B is in the Orange basin offshore South Africa. Photo: Photo/Map PANORO ENERGY

Eco Atlantic is due to become operator and hold a 50% stake once its acquisition of current operator Azinam wraps up later this year.

Colin Kinley, co-founder and chief operating officer of Eco Atlantic said: "We are planning for mobilisation of the rig in late August and to spud shortly after arrival," with Africa Energy stating the rig will spud the well by October.

Garrett Soden, Africa Energy chief executive, said: "The block has significant contingent and prospective resources in shallow water close to shore and includes the A-J1 discovery from 1988 that flowed light sweet crude oil to surface."

Gazania-1, he explained, will target two large prospects seven kilometers up-dip from A-J1 in the same basin as Venus and Graff.

Block 2B covers about 3000 square kilometers in water depths ranging from 50 to 200 metres.

The A-J1 borehole hit thick reservoir sandstones between 2985 and 3350 metres, and flowed 191 barrels per day of 36-degree API oil from a 10-metre sandstone interval at about 3250 metres.

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