By Sully Manope, Southern African correspondent, in Windhoek
Sasol has signed an Exploration Right permit to explore for hydrocarbons on the East Coast (Durban and Zululand basins), offshore Kwazulu-Natal province, with the Petroleum Agency South Africa (PASA).
Africa’s biggest synfuels company clinched the permit though its exploration and production (E&P) subsidiary, Sasol Petroleum International. The award was made by PASA for an initial period of three years.
The exploration will be on the east coast of the province which sits at the southern end of the Mozambique channel where significant gas discoveries have been made in the past few years, Sasol says in a statement.
“This is Sasol’s first operated Exploration Right licence in South Africa for at least a decade,” says Ebbie Haan, Managing Director at Sasol Petroleum International.
Sasol was granted a Technical Cooperation Permit (TCP 032) to study and investigate an 83,000km2 in 2011. Sasol submitted a work programme in September 2012, followed by a high-level Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan completed in February 2013.The Exploration Right (SPI: 100% interest) permit follows these steps.
Sasol has already completed 4 000 line kilometres of a 2D seismic survey in terms of a programme covering an area of 5 950 km. The remainder will be acquired in 2014, following which the results will be analysed and interpreted.
Mr. Haan says that Sasol will ensure that a robust public consultation programme is implemented during the assessment phase and that stakeholders’ concerns will be addressed. Sasol already has an exemplary track record in conducting exploration of this nature. Offshore Mozambique, Sasol has conducted three separate seismic surveys and drilled three wells with no negative impacts on marine mammals, including the endangered dugong, whilst maintaining good relationships with artisanal and commercial fisheries, as well as the tourism and conservation sectors.