TotalEnergies, Shell want to explore for oil on a block off South Africa’s Southwest Coast months after hitting legal minefields
This move comes months after two attempts to conduct seismic surveys in South Africa’s waters were abandoned.
TotalEnergies has invited interested parties to participate in public meetings to discuss its plan. SLR Consulting Ltd will carry out an environmental assessment, it said in the notice dated April 19th 2022.
“The main purpose of the pre-application phase is to provide initial notification to stakeholders and specifically to identify and develop the stakeholder database for the project,” said SLR.
This will ensure SLR has a comprehensive database for future stakeholder engagement, and more information will be released in May, the company said.
Shell was blocked from carrying out a seismic survey off South Africa’s south coast in December after local communities took legal action against it, saying they hadn’t been consulted and that the program may harm marine life and disrupt fishing.
In March, Searcher Seismic abandoned exploration off the West Coast after a court ordered it to halt activity.
Still, in both cases, a later ruling could allow a resumption of exploration, though Searcher Seismic said it will not return.
TotalEnergies said on its website that it plans to drill one exploration well in the area and then, if it is successful, as many as four more.
The notice detail plans to explore a 10,000 square kilometre (3,861 square miles) part of a block off the coast between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.
The block is between 60 kilometres and 170 kilometres offshore and covers water depths of between 700 meters and 3.2 kilometres.
In addition to TotalEnergies and Shell, the government’s Petroleum Oil & Gas Corp. of South Africa is a partner.
TotalEnergies has made two gas condensate discoveries in 2019 and 2020 off the South African coast.