South Africa’s Upcoming Licensing Rounds Set to End Loadshedding for Good, Upstream Players Invited to Participate – African Business
While environmental activists have sought to restrict South Africa from monetizing its oil and gas resources, the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has proven resilient and is currently moving ahead with plans to open up key onshore and offshore licensing rounds, in a bid to end chronic loadshedding for good. As the country’s energy crisis becomes more acute and global energy supply chains remain constricted, opening up South Africa’s upstream market could mean new opportunities for energy security and self-sufficiency – critical ingredients for creating a globally competitive economy.
South Africa is a highly lucrative oil and gas play. However, many of its basins remain unexplored. Hoping to mirror the upstream success seen in Namibia in the shared Orange Basin – whereby two sizable oil and gas finds were made in early 2022 – as well as other attractive prospects across the country, the DMRE, led by Hon. Minister Gwede Mangashe has launched an ambitious upstream agenda. This would see the country open up on-and offshore licensing rounds, following the passage the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill.
Now, the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) – responsible for the promotion and optimal development of on- and offshore oil and gas resources on behalf of the government – is seeking geophysical contractors to acquire fresh seismic data in the Orange, Bredasdorp, Durban and Karoo basins, with the acreage already having been selected. The deadline for seismic contractors to submit bids is January 30, 2023.
On the offshore front, covering both ultra-deepwater and shallow prospects, PASA is opening up blocks spanning an acreage of 113,000 km² in the Orange basin (west coast); 16,900 km² in the Western Bredasdorp basin and Infanta Embayment (southern coast); as well as 50,000 km² in the Durban basin (east coast). On the onshore front, PASA is looking at opening prospects across 219,000 km² in the greater Karoo basin.
PASA has provided the number of 2D data that is needed. However, the agency has stressed that it is open and willing to consider proposals for the reprocessing of existing data as well as the conducting of gravity and magnetic surveys, controlled-source electro-magnetic data and other studies. Specifically, the agency wants a minimum of 6,900 km² of 2D to be acquired in the Orange basin; 7,000 km² of existing data to be reprocessed in the shallow Western Bredasdorp basin and Infanta Embayment areas; and a further 3,500 km² of 2D data to be shot, as well as 2D and 3D data reprocessed in the southern Durban basin, the northern Transkei swell and the deepwater Natal Valley. Following the acquisition of this data, PASA is set to open up both on- and offshore licensing rounds, inviting a suite of regional and international players to kickstart the country’s exploration drive.
“South Africa can longer afford to leave its oil and gas resources in the ground. As we have discussed, oil and natural gas are the solution the country needs. Environmental activists who continue to block the extraction of these resources also continue to block development of the economy they live in. The DMRE and Hon. Gwede Mantashe should be commended, as the opening up of licensing rounds and acreage will deliver South Africa into a new era of energy security and resilience that many countries across the world so urgently seek,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC).
“As the voice of the African energy sector, and an organization committed to Africa’s people and Africa’s development, the AEC urges all interested parties to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the DMRE in South Africa. Geophysical contractors are encouraged to help the country provide the data it needs to unleash exploration campaigns, and upstream players urged to take part in one of Africa’s most promising hydrocarbon plays. We are looking forward to the results of these rounds and the many more that are set to follow,” Ayuk concluded.
Distributed by APO Group in support of African Energy Week.
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