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Trouble brewing off South Africa’s coast as Greenpeace Africa slams Total over reckless oil exploration

Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. (FILE PHOTO)

JOHANNESBURG – In response to the announcement that French oil giant Total has just made a significant oil and gas discovery 175 km off the southern coast of South Africa, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele, has said:

“Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. Discovering yet more oil and gas is not something to celebrate when burning fossil fuels is driving potentially catastrophic climate change. This is essentially oil that we cannot afford to burn in the face of extreme weather conditions and recurrent droughts.”

Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa

He noted that deep sea drilling is far too risky and that the possibility for an oil spill always exists, and the environmental impacts of deep sea drilling for oil and gas are too significant to be ignored, “with very little benefit or job creation for Africans.”

“It is reckless of the South African government to allow oil and gas exploration to go ahead, and unfortunate that this was lauded as a victory at the State of the Nation Address last night,” he said.

According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record in Africa.

He said that if the authority is serious about stopping the worst impacts of climate change some fossil fuels must remain in the ground.

He added the country is blessed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world and that it’s time to back renewable energy, and stop the reckless and dangerous dash for fossil fuels.

On Thursday, Total noted that the discovery, would help open a new hydrocarbons province in South Africa, and that it could prove the presence of billions of barrels of oil equivalent in South African waters, which will undoubtedly change the course of the country’s economy and help reduce dependency on imports.

“The oil industry hopes this will be a catalyst and encouragement for all policymakers to work on an enabling business environment for exploration and drilling activities in South Africa,” declared NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber.

“We believe South Africa holds the potential for many more such discoveries, and the time has come to have a meaningful conversation on local content development so the development of the industry benefits all South African workers and contractors across the value-chain and creates jobs for the communities.”

The gas discovery is a timely one as the South African government is currently working on a new legislation separating oil and gas from traditional minerals, and has released last year a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2018) which ambitions to install an additional 8,100MW of gas-to-power capacity in South Africa by 2030.

It further echoes increased engagement of the South African government with the African and global oil industry. Since being appointed Energy Minister in 2018, Jeff Radebe has been leading a strong South African outreach to oil markets in Africa like Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, South Sudan, many middle eastern producers and attending meetings of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna and seeking deals for state-owned South African companies such as the Central Energy Fund and PetroSA

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