South Africa grants permit for offshore oil exploration study in Orange basin

Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg April 26, 2023

(Bloomberg) – South Africa granted an environmental permit for exploration activity in the Orange basin off the nation’s west coast, adding to other work planned offshore.   

The area, which includes blocks licensed by TotalEnergies SE and Africa Oil Corp, received the offshore exploration authorization from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on April 17, according to an email notice by Environmental Impact Management Services.

Proposed work includes seismic programs — a method of research using sound pulses to identify geology. The project area is located between 120 kilometers (75 miles) offshore of St. Helena Bay, extending north to 230 kilometers offshore Hondeklip Bay.

TotalEnergies is also planning exploration work, including the drilling of as many as 10 wells, in a neighboring area known as the Deep Water Orange Basin.

Both Total and Shell last year made significant oil discoveries north of the block in Namibian waters. Previously, surveys including one planned by Shell Plc have been blocked in South African courts following protests by community groups.

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