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Shell kicks off the last phase of its high-profile drilling campaign offshore Namibia, following successful flow tests on a key appraisal well for the Jonker oil discovery in the prolific Orange Basin.

The supermajor is coming towards the end of a second multi-well exploration and appraisal adventure on its deepwater acreage Namibian blocks that began in December 2022, following up on its breakthrough Graff-1 and La Rona-1 discoveries in February that year.

Those play-opening probes—which helped propel Namibia into the exploration stratosphere—were drilled by the drillship Valaris DS-10 before Shell decided to charter Northern Ocean’s semi-submersible drilling rig Deepsea Bollsta (via rig manager Odfjell Drilling) for the ongoing campaign.

A source familiar with the supermajor’s drilling plans said Bollsta has now commenced drilling the Enigma-1X well in Block 2913A. Assuming it takes about three months to drill and possibly test, the drilling operation will likely end in June, leaving insufficient time for another well to go down before the rig charter expires. The Enigma-1X well was spudded late last week at a site about 15 kilometres south-southeast of the recently completed Jonker-2A well.

Last month, Shell conducted several flow tests at Jonker-2A, but the outcomes remained inconclusive. However, satellite data revealed gas flares occurring at the drill site between February 6 and 9, typically signalling test operations. Many speculate that Jonker is the primary discovery Shell intends to prioritise for development.