South Africa to Resume Exploration Awards
South Africa’s mineral resources minister Gewde Mantashe has pledged he will unblock stalled applications for oil and gas exploration rights, and will introduce new legislation for the sector next year.
The moratorium is to be amended so that applications currently in the system now would be “processed and granted,” he told investors in Cape Town November 29. Exploration rights are believed to have been sought for shale gas in the Karoo region, and other onshore and offshore oil and gas prospects.
Mantashe said he would table a comprehensive new oil and gas bill next year after the country’s next general elections. He said that black economic empowerment requirements would not apply at the exploration stage of oil and gas licensing. In 2013 it was decided to develop the mining and petroleum industries separately, which explains why a new bill for oil and gas is now planned.
He also welcomed the commitment by Total and its partners to resume its drilling operations. The ministry said the drill rig for Total’s project, Deepsea Stavanger, is expected to reach South Africa by December 5.