Domestic natural gas and helium producer Renergen has struck gas in well P007 at the base of the Karoo sediments, at a depth of just over 400 m.
P007 is considered a “true exploration well”, as opposed to a development or appraisal well, and was being drilled by Renergen to inform possible resources for the Phase 2 development of its Virginia gas project, in South Africa’s Free State.
In a statement on March 9, the company said the success of P007 was very significant, as the well is in an area outside the primary focus area for reserves to be exploited in Phase 1 development, which was currently under construction.
However, it is also in close proximity to the Phase 1 gas gathering system.
Upon reaching the base of the Karoo sediments, well P007 penetrated a 6-m-thick gas-bearing and fractured sandstone layer, which displaced the drilling fluid and started flowing gas to surface.
The current flow rate is also higher than almost all other existing wells in the permit area, recording more than 200 000 cubic feet a day.
Gas samples have been collected to determine gas composition, including helium concentration.
Results will, however, be delayed owing to limited availability of the requisite analytical equipment, which is currently under maintenance, at the accredited laboratories traditionally used by Renergen.
P007 will now be under-reamed to increase the diameter of the well, before setting casing and prepared for production.
As soon as the laboratories come back on line over the coming weeks, the gas composition or helium results will be released to market, the company confirmed.
Renergen CEO Stefano Marani said this result is “not only going to have a meaningful impact on our resource base, but highlights the effectiveness of inclined percussion drilling, which was used for the first time by Renergen”.
The success of P007 provides the company with a clear indication of which drilling technology to deploy for all future drilling, he added.