Companies are rushing to explore offshore oil and gas
Environmental activists want all exploration stopped
Environmental activist organisation The Green Connection is appealing to the presidency and government to ban all offshore oil and gas exploration amidst a sudden rush of applications for exploration rights.
Offshore oil and gas applications are currently “expanding and intensifying”, according to Adrian Pole, legal consultant for The Green Connection, who was speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday.
The organisation has launched a petition to stop offshore oil and gas exploration in the ocean. Instead it wants the development of renewable energy solutions, which has been signed by just over 4,000 people.
During the media briefing, The Green Connection gave updates on some of the exploration and other projects it is opposing. These include Searcher’s applications to conduct seismic surveys on the south west coast, Karpowership’s attempts to get permission for floating gas powerships, drilling from the Azinam oil rig off the Northern Cape, and TotalEnergies’s application for environmental authorisation of exploration off the southern coast.
Azinam is already drilling. Both TotalEnergies and Karpowership are holding public meetings this month as part of the consultation process they have to go through.
“From our perspective, oil and gas is not part of a just transition … alternatives are there and we don’t have to drill our oceans,” said Liziwe McDaid, The Green Connection’s strategic lead. She said that the South African government should be moving away from fossil fuels.
McDaid said these projects were risking the livelihoods of coastal communities “who depend on a healthy ocean” and who felt voiceless faced with the growing number of companies applying for exploration rights.
Neville van Rooy, The Green Connection’s community outreach coordinator, said oil and gas projects disrupted local economies and communities’ access to food.
During the briefing, McDaid also raised a concern that the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe hasn’t finalised the Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) as required by the National Energy Act. This plan is designed to guide energy infrastructure investment.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy had not responded to GroundUp’s queries at the time of publication.
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