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Another Seismic & Exploratory drilling planned: deep-water blocks 5, 6 + 7 in the Atlantic off Cape Town 

Please register as an Interested & Affected Party (details below)

Total Energies EP South Africa Block 567 (Pty) Ltd (“TEEPSA”) and its partners (Shell, 40%; PetroSA 20%) are applying for Environmental Authorisation to undertake exploration activities in Block 5/6/7 off the South-West Coast of South Africa.  SLR Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd (“SLR”) has been appointed as the Independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner to undertake the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process for the proposed project. 

This area of the oceans underwent a 3D seismic survey in January 2020, ending in April that year, with Petroleum Geo-Services(PGS) on behalf of Anadarko SA, previous license holder for the blocks.

Coincidental to this survey was a spike in strandings along the adjacent shoreline of pygmy (Kogia breviceps) and the dwarf (Kogia sima) sperm whales, the two species of the genus Kogia. Please see the report below, :”Strandings, however, increased in 2020, with 15 standings being reported by the end of July, clearly an unusual mortality event. An unusual mortality event is defined as a pronounced increase in strandings compared with previous records (Yang et al., 2008).” (Seakamela S.M., McCue S.A. & Kotze P.G.H, 2020)

TEEPSA has an existing Exploration Right for Block 5/6/7, within which two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) seismic surveys have been undertaken. Based on an analysis of acquired seismic data, TEEPSA proposes to drill one exploration well, and success dependent, up to four additional wells within an Area of Interest within the Block (i.e. up to five wells in total). The Area of Interest (shown as yellow polygon in Attachment 1) is 10 000 km2 in extent and is located offshore roughly between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas, approximately 60 km from the coast at its closest point and 170 km at its furthest, in water depths between 700 m and 3 200 m. The objective of drilling exploration wells is to determine whether geological structures (“prospects”) contain commercially viable oil or gas reserves.

In terms of the EIA Regulations 2014 (as amended), the proposed project requires Environmental Authorisation as it triggers the following listed activities:

  • Listing Notice 1 (R.983 of 2014 as amended): 14, 17, 19A.
  • Listing Notice 2 (R.984 of 2014 as amended): 4, 6, 7, 14, 18.SLR Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd (“SLR”) has been appointed as the Independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner to undertake the ESIA process for the proposed project. This process aims to identify and assess the potential environmental and social impacts and define mitigation measures, where possible, to avoid and reduce significant negative environmental and social impacts.

Registered I&APs will be notified when the draft Scoping Report is released for comment, as well as the details for public consultation (meetings), in May 2022

Send requests for registering as an Interested and Affected Party (I&AP) to:


Telephone: SMS / WhatsApp: 063 900 5536

The registration form can be downloaded here:

For clarity, during the various phases of upstream offshore, it starts with looking for oil or gas that could be commercially recoverable (seismic surveys). Here a reconnaissance permit is issued, usually valid for a year. This can be followed by a technical co-operation permit, which entitles the holder to carry out a technical study of available data and entitles the holder to apply for an exploration right. If the results of the seismics and technical studies look favorable for making a discover, the holder moves to exploration – which is defined in the MPRDA as ‘the re-processing of existing seismic data, acquisition and processing of new seismic data or any other related activity to define a trap to be tested by drilling, logging and testing, including extended well testing, of a well with the intention of locating a discovery’. So while it includes reprocessing existing data and new seismics, exploration would typically include defining a trap to be tested by drilling. If the exploration drilling is successful (e.g. Brulpadda), then the right holder can move to production and apply for a production right.

We wait to see whether this application includes exploratory drilling.

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