16 November 2013, Johannesburgh – The Petroleum Agency SA has granted petrochemicals group Sasol a three-year permit to explore for oil and gas in the Durban and Zululand basins offshore Kwazulu-Natal province on South Africa’s east coast.
“This is Sasol’s first operated exploration right licence in South Africa for at least a decade,” Sasol Petroleum International MD Ebbie Haan said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Durban and Zululand basins are of interest because they sit at the southern end of the Mozambique Channel. Significant discoveries have recently been made in the north of Mozambique, notably in the Rovuma basin.
In 2011, Sasol was granted a technical cooperation permit to investigate the potential for oil and gas in an area covering 83 000 square kilometres off South Africa’s east coast.
The granting of the permit followed the submission of a work programme in September 2012, followed by an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan completed in February this year.
“Sasol has already completed 4 000 kilometres of a 2D seismic survey in terms of a programme covering an area of 5 950 kilometres,” the company said on Wednesday. “The remainder will be acquired in 2014, following which the results will be analysed and interpreted.”
Haan said that Sasol would conduct a “robust public consultation programme” during the assessment phase, and that stakeholders’ concerns would be addressed.
“Sasol already has an exemplary track record in conducting exploration of this nature,” Haan said. “Offshore Mozambique, Sasol has conducted three separate seismic surveys and drilled three wells with no negative impacts on marine mammals, including the endangered dugong, while maintaining good relationships with artisanal and commercial fisheries, as well as the tourism and conservation sectors.”