TotalEnergies is ploughing half of its 2023 global exploration budget into an imminent exploration and appraisal drilling blitz in Namibia to prove that last year’s Venus-1 wildcat opened up a commercial multibillion-barrel oil play.

A year ago, the day before Russia invaded Ukraine, Upstream broke the news that the French supermajor had made a huge ultra-deepwater discovery in the Orange basin, with sources suggesting it could hold between 3 billion and 12 billion barrels of oil.