South Africa has dismissed an appeal against TotalEnergies’ offshore drilling plans, allowing the French supermajor to explore for oil and gas in a block off its southwest coast, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a ruling by the environment minister Barbara Creecy.
TotalEnergies has been looking to explore for oil and natural gas in Block 5/6/7, located offshore the southwest coast of South Africa, between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.
TotalEnergies is proposing to drill up to five offshore wells on the block.
In April, South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy granted environmental authorization to TotalEnergies and its partners to drill in the block. But lobby groups and individuals appealed the decision, asking the minister – who sits as the appellate authority – to void the environmental consent due to climate change, potential oil spills, and a lack of adequate public consultation.
In a ruling dated at the end of September, Minister Creecy wrote, as carried by Reuters, “I am therefore satisfied that the impacts of noise and light have been adequately assessed and mitigated to ensure low impacts on the receiving environment. As such this ground of appeal is dismissed.”
South Africa is one of TotalEnergies’ two targeted frontier exploration areas offshore Africa—the other one is offshore Namibia, which analysts say could have the potential to become the new Guyana for oil and gas exploration and discoveries.
TotalEnergies and Shell have already made large discoveries offshore Namibia.
TotalEnergies made a significant discovery of light oil with associated gas on the Venus prospect in the Orange Basin early last year. Venus in Namibia could be a “giant oil and gas discovery,” TotalEnergies said in an investor presentation in September 2022.
Last year's massive deepwater discoveries, Shell’s Graff and TotalEnergies’ Venus, could be transformational for Namibia, the southern neighbor of OPEC member Angola, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie has said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.