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Sonar Bloody Sonar, Seismic Bloody Seismic +

I can’t believe the news today
I can’t close my eyes and make it go away
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?* * U2 lyrics

TotalEnergies: Proposed Offshore Exploration in Block Deep Water Orange Basin (DWOB), West Coast, South Africa – please register and make your comments/objections.

TotalEnergies EP South Africa B.V. (TEEPSA) and its (undeclared) partners are applying for Environmental Authorisation to undertake exploration activities in Deep Water Orange Basin (DWOB) off the West Coast of South Africa. 
Heads up – TEEPSA contacted Oceans Not Oil and many other NGO’s on the 14th Nov to alert us to this application, with the notification letter dated the 4th. They have set the reply date for the comments at the 5th of December 2022 (30 days from the 4th). We have objected and requested that they move the reply date to the 15th or show us all proof of previous communications. We will keep you posted. – UPDATE 24/11/2022 – ONO has been notified that the comment period on the draft Scoping Report has been extended from Monday, 5 December until Wednesday, 14 December 2022

TEEPSA is proposing to undertake various exploration activities within the DWOB Licence Block, including:

  • Sonar bathymetry surveys throughout the year. TEEPSA intend to use a multi beam echo-sounder, a single beam echo-sounder and/or a sub bottom profiler. Mid-frequency MF band, 1-10 kHz, have been implicated in the strandings of marine mammals, especially beaked whales1. TEEPSA says,”typical multi-beam echo sounders emit a fan of acoustic beams from a transducer at frequencies ranging from 40 kHz to 100 kHz and typically produces sound levels in the order of 230 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m. A typical sub- bottom profiler emits an acoustic pulse from a transducer at frequencies ranging from 2 kHz to 16 kHz (38 to 200 kHz for a single beam echo-sounder).”
  • Drop core sampling; and
  • Exploration well drilling (including vertical seismic profiling – which is seismic surveying but from a single surface point directed downwards. Airguns etc are still utilised).

The selected equipment would be hull mounted on the survey vessel to image the seabed and the near surface geology.

The proposed sonar surveys would be undertaken in specific areas across the Licence Block with a cumulative footprint of approximately 15 000 km2. It is anticipated that the data acquisition operation would take about four weeks to complete.

TEEPSA proposes to drill one exploration well, and success dependent, up to nine additional wells in total within an Area of Interest within the Block (i.e., up to ten wells in total). The Area of Interest for exploration drilling is 9 711.21 km2 in extent and is located offshore roughly between Port Nolloth and Hondeklip Bay, approximately 188 km from the coast at its closest point and 340 km at its furthest, in water depths between 1000 m and 3000 m (locality map available for download below).  SLR has been appointed to undertake the required Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).


To date there are now 4 overlapping pending applications for the same area of ocean with Petroleum Agency South Africa: Searcher Geodata; GX Technology Corporation; TGS 3D seismic survey area, as well as this new one planned . That these applications may become operational back to back between 2023 to 2024, or simultaneously, speaks of the cowboy antics and a complete disregard of the Critical Biodiversity and Ecological Support areas that abut these survey/exploration localities and the inhabitants reliant upon them.

[1] Draft BAR 1520, para 9.3.5, p234.

The ESIA report has been made available for a 30-day (20 days in actuality) review and comment period from 14 November to 5 December 2022.  The full draft Scoping Report and Background Information and Non-Technical Summary are available for download below. The comment period has been set ( controversially) from 14 November to 5 December 2022

SLR has compiled a draft Scoping Report, which is available for a 30-day review and comment period from 4 November to 5 December 2022. Refer to letter for report availability. Comments on the draft Scoping Report should reach SLR by no later than 5 December 2022

Telephone: SMS/WhatsApp: 072 422 3448

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