Sasol to explore SA coast for oil amid objection

2013-11-14 12:07
A map of the L-shaped area between Port Shepstone and Mozambique to be explored by Sasol. (Supplied: Sasol)

A map of the L-shaped area between Port Shepstone and Mozambique to be explored by Sasol. (Supplied: Sasol)

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Cape Town – Sasol Petroleum International has announced that it will start to explore the East Coast of South Africa for oil and gas for the next three years amid opposition from Dolphin Action and Protection Group.

“We signed an exploration right where we committed to the first three-year period in which we should acquire 6000 line kilometres of seismic,” Sasol exploration manager, David Holmes told News24.

Exploration will include an area of coastline stretching from Port Shepstone in the south to the South Africa-Mozambique border further northwards.

A 2D seismic survey, based on reflection seismology, will be performed at water depths between 1000-3000m.

“This is where boats which go out into the sea control cables with well guns holding compressed air which send sound waves through the water. The cables have receivers that record the sound wave that bounce back from the earth’s service,” Holmes said.

Holmes said that within a 10-20m radius the compressed air from the guns can be harmful to marine mammals like whales and dolphins.

'Supersonic frequencies'

According to Sasol spokesperson, Alex Anderson, earlier seismic surveys and drilling operations off Mozambique had no negative impacts on marine mammals, including the endangered dugong.

Dolphin Action and Protection Group CEO, Nan Rice, disagrees and says the impacts are more far-reaching.

“Research on fin whales in the northern hemisphere has shown that seismic bangs can travel 4000km,” she told News24.

“Certain whales like beaked whales dive very deeply and operate at different supersonic frequencies,” she said.

“What is needed is a panel of cetacean experts who can decide what dangers there are in relation to seismic exploration.”

The Petroleum Agency South Africa (Pasa) has granted Sasol an exploration permit for an initial period of three years.

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Read more on:    sasol  |  marine  |  energy
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