Recently, a large oil field was discovered in South Africa?

2020-11-20 | Earth Knowledge Bureau Original |

South Africa is rich in mineral resources. More than 60 minerals have been discovered in China. Among them, the reserves of platinum group metals, gold, fluorite and andalusite rank first in the world, and the total mineral reserves are also among the top in the world, accounting for approximately AfricaMore than half of it.

Of course the most famous one is gold

However, South Africa's gold production is declining year after year and has been hollowed out

Picture: Sergey-73/shutterstock▼

But South Africa is not lacking in everything. The two important resources of oil and natural gas are the shortest reserves of its reserves, and the "lean oil" hat has always been buckled in South Africa.

Just recently, Total, which has been exploring for oil and gas in South African waters for a long time, revealed its new exploration results: in the 11B/12B area of ​​the Outeniqua Basin, about 175 kilometers from the southern coast of South Africa, it has once again discovered importantCondensate gas may contain a lot of natural gas and crude oil.

This discovery may end South Africa's history of importing oil.

In fact, South Africa has a lot of coal resources, but it lacks oil and gas

The 11B/12B area discovered this time is in the southern sea▼

Coal and oil depend on each other

In order to reduce dependence on oil imports, South Africa, which is "rich in coal, less oil and gas, and short of water energy", began research on coal-to-liquid coal liquefaction technology CTL as early as the late 1920s.

Coal liquefaction refers to the process of turning coal into gases rich in various hydrocarbons through high temperature and high pressure, and then reacting these gases after purification to produce petrochemical products. If you use crude oil to produce petroleum productsIt boils down to the "liquid-to-liquid" production model, then "coal-to-liquid" is a "solid-to-liquid" production process.

This is indeed very important for countries that are rich in coal and short of oil

Countries like Germany attach great importance to coal-to-oil technology

Picture: Vladimir Wrangel/shutterstock▼

This technology was originally invented by the Germans, but then the oil supply continued to grow, and research on it came to a halt. I never thought that the country with the most successful application of this technology would become South Africa.

In the 1940s, South Africa passed the "Liquefied Fuels and Petroleum Act", which officially listed the development of coal liquefaction technology as a national strategy to solve energy problems, and it was determined in the form of legislation. Soon after, South Africa was hit by the policy of apartheid.The opposition of the whole world, and the sanctions imposed by the international community on oil embargoes, has accelerated its research and development of coal liquefaction technology.

Abundant coal resources are the basis of coal liquefaction

The higher the liquefaction technology, the greater the degree of coal mining

Picture: Melanie Lamprecht / shutterstock▼

In 1955, Sasol Company, a unit specializing in coal liquefaction research and production established in South Africa, successfully produced the first barrel of CTL diesel, built the first CTL factory, and began to supply the first batch of petroleum productsmarket.

Since then, South Africa’s energy has entered the age of liquefied petroleum

Picture: Vanessa Bentley / shutterstock▼

So how does Sasol do it?

Technically, coal liquefaction is divided into "direct liquefaction" and "indirect liquefaction". Directly hydrogenating coal to produce oil is the direct liquefaction technology. Sasol chose low raw material requirements and output qualityA good "indirect liquefaction" has an additional "gas production" link in the middle-coal, water, and air are first mixed, and gas will emerge. The output is carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

"Indirect Liquefaction" process▼

The next step is the most critical step: turn gas into gasoline and diesel. The current mainstream technology is called "Fischer-Tropsch synthesis", which is also the method adopted by Sasol, that is, carbon monoxide will becomeAfter an activated carbon compound reacts with hydrogen, it is further polymerized into various chemicals, including gasoline and diesel.

Sasol opened a new era of energy technology in South Africa. And after the oil crisis in the 1970s, they built the second and third CTL factories in Sasolburg and Secunda, even at that time.This ensures South Africa’s energy supply. The South African government also directly used strong administrative means to escort the company, requiring other South African oil companies to purchase large quantities of Sasol’s products and adopt direct subsidies for Sasol’s operations and product prices.And other aid measures.

Sasol is more than just an energy company for South Africa

It can even be regarded as one of the pillars of the stability and development of this country

Picture: Chris Redan / shutterstock▼

Today, after 60 years of development, Sasol has the world's most advanced technology in the field of "coal-to-liquid", and is also the world's only commercial producer of coal-to-liquid technology. Of course, the company has also greatly enhanced South AfricaIts oil self-sufficiency capacity, nearly one-third of South Africa’s 26 million tons of oil per year comes from it.

Demand promotes the development of technology

The lack of oil resources also makes South Africa have to choose this path


Coal to oil is not the final answer

But relying on coal to oil to solve energy needs is not without problems.

After the 1990s, with the abolition of racial discrimination and apartheid policies in South Africa, the change in the political pattern directly broke its original energy supply and demand situation, and the long-depressed energy demand was released in large quantities: because electricity was originally only supplied to a small amount of the ruling classAfter the end of apartheid, everyone on the political level has the right to use energy equally.

Therefore, the energy converted from coal-to-liquid is far from keeping up with South Africa's consumption demand. South Africa's crude oil imports have further increased overall:

Import volume further climbed

It means that South Africa has less and less autonomy in resources

There is more possibility of being stuck in other countries


It hasn't improved much in recent years. In 2018, South Africa imported US$17 billion in fossil fuels, including petroleum, accounting for 18.2% of total imports, an increase of 39.1% over 2017.

Composition of imports from South Africa

Picture: OEC▼

In addition, coal liquefaction can also cause serious environmental problems, such as the production of a large amount of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. According to the National Resources Defense Council NRDC, the use of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum fuels emits 27.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon.However, the carbon emissions of the use of liquefied kerosene are more than twice that of the former. Therefore, there is also a saying that "the main product of coal-to-liquid is carbon dioxide, and the by-product is energy."

Humans need more oil, but nature does not matter

Picture: PACO COMO / shutterstock▼

With the increase in environmental protection awareness of the whole society, the South African star company Sasol has also been under tremendous pressure from environmental protection organizations and has been forced to make commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions.

From 1988 to 2015, only Sasol family

It accounts for 0.35% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions

Picture: AntimatterMachine / Wikipedia▼

While traditional energy sources are increasingly scarce, South Africa is still lagging behind in the development of clean energy from wind and solar lights.

Fortunately, we have been promoting the construction and use of clean energy

Picture: Nicole Macheroux-Denaultk▼

South Africa’s electricity demand now exceeds 200 billion kWh over 3600 kWh per capita. Such high energy demand mainly depends on fossil fuels: Until 2016, South Africa’s dependence on fossil fuels was as high as 85.7%, followed byNuclear power 5.2% and natural gas 3.2%.

The wires are spread into thousands of households

How to generate electricity is still a big problem

Picture: Wesley Lazarus/shutterstock▼

The point of all this is that South Africa needs its own oil resources. Therefore, South Africa has also strengthened cooperation with foreign oil companies from the end of the last century to jointly explore and exploit oil and gas resources, but it has not had some important results until recent years.

New discovery from mining

For oil-rich countries on the African continent such as Nigeria, South Sudan, and Equatorial Guinea, South Africa has extended its olive branch and tried to get a share of investment in oil and gas projects.

For example, for South Sudan, which is rich in oil resources but failed to develop them properly, South Africa signed a six-year oil production sharing agreement with it last year, promising to invest US$50 million in oil exploration in Jonglei State of South Sudan; In addition, South Africa also plans to build oil transportation pipelines and refineries for it. The total investment is expected to reach 1 billion US dollars.

Offshore is also the target of South African oil exploration. Following the discovery of recoverable reserves of up to 314 million barrels of oil equivalent in Brulpada in the Outeniqua Basin, many seismic exploration experts believe that the future near the coast of South Africa is still possibleThere will be huge oil and gas discoveries. Therefore, the 11B/12B block of the basin is listed as a key exploration area.

Location of District 11B/12B▼

Total first drilled the Brulpada in the Outeniqua Basin in 2014, but at that time, due to the strong ocean currents from east to west on the southern coast of South Africa, it was difficult for the company to keep the drilling rig at a proper level.Location, so I had to suspend, continue to improve the exploration technology, and only act after three years.

In 2019, efforts have made new returns. In February last year, Total South Africa announced that the "world-class" oil and gas block in the Outeniqua Basin had an oil and gas layer of 57 meters thick and a drilling depth of 3633 meters.The reserves of oil and gas resources are expected to exceed 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The proven resources of this major discovery are mainly condensate gas and a small amount of light oil. After that, people have obviously developed greater enthusiasm for South Africa's offshore oil exploration, and the incident has attracted unprecedented attention in online media.Total, the next step is to carry out three-dimensional seismic exploration, and then will drill four other exploration wells in the block.

As long as the digging is accurate, you can make a steady profit for decades▼

The latest news is the result of the second exploration. The Luiperd drilling well started exploration in Bruerpada in August 2020 and has so far hired nearly 200 exploration engineers, aviation experts, and hydrological experts, Petroleum geology experts and marine experts and other local professionals in South Africa, spent 1.5 billion rand approximately 620 million yuan, and finally achieved the "discovery of South Africa's first deep-sea oil and gas field".

In this regard, the South African Minister of Mineral Resources said with excitement that the discovery and exploitation of the gas field will greatly boost South Africa’s economy and will also be able to attract foreign investment.

And the results of this discovery are not exclusive to South Africa. After all, Total Group owns 45% of the mining rights in the area, and the other rights belong to the Middle East Qatar Petroleum Company 25% and Canadian Natural Resources Corporation 20%And Main Street 10%, a consortium of South African merchants.

Total long before South Africa successfully produced the first barrel of CTL oil

Started oil and gas business in South Africa

Still still the first in the South African oil market

Picture: Jurie Maree / shutterstock▼

There are prospects for oil exploration, and the construction of oil refineries is already being arranged. The South African government is negotiating with a number of international energy companies on the business opportunities contained in South Africa’s oil and gas. The Minister of Mineral Resources said that the government is considering a partnership with Saudi AramcoKwaZulu Natal is building a new refinery, and a feasibility study is currently underway, and we hope that Saudi Arabia will give good results.

Finding good allies is also an important means of resource stability


Speaking of new oil and gas fields, the minister is also optimistic about its future development and utilization. He said: "Total has full confidence in our government and our country, and we are also very excited."

South Africa, a country with mines at home, finally found the mine I wanted most.









8. Huang Xuan, An Haizhong, Zhang Hongliang, et al. Energy management system reform in South Africa and its enlightenment[J]. Resources and Industry, 2013, 156:136-136.

9. Meng Di. South Africa, a mineral-rich country with the knowledge of "energy"[J].Petroleum Knowledge,20192:32-33.


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