Local NGOs slam gas, oil exploration

2018-07-19 06:01
Desmond D’Sa, Niven Reddy and Dr Jennifer Olbers address the public at Marburg Library on Tuesday.PHOTO: Thami Ka-Nkosi

Desmond D’Sa, Niven Reddy and Dr Jennifer Olbers address the public at Marburg Library on Tuesday.PHOTO: Thami Ka-Nkosi

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D’Sa said these operations normally brought in expertise from overseas.

One of the proposed deep-sea drilling sites is 62 km offshore of Richards Bay and covers an area of 1 840km2.

The other site is located 65 km off Port Shepstone’s shoreline and is about 2 905 km2.

“The drilling of the first exploration well is planned for 2019,” the report said.

The report also says South Africa has a crude oil demand of 600 000 barrels a day.

South Africa currently imports approximately 70% of its liquid fuel, which comprises crude oil and finished products.

The other approximately 30% of our required fuel needs is sourced from the local production of synfuels from coal and gas, the report indicated.

If the exploration is successful, the benefits could include job creation, increased government revenues and the reduced need to import hydrocarbons like crude oil.

Dr Jennifer Olbers from KZN Wildlife said more research needed to be conducted, saying that the potential benefits of oil and gas were small compared to the negatives, which included greenhouse emissions.

Dr Olbers said the country was emitting 117 500 tons of carbon dioxide every day.

Dr Olbers also stated that, in her opinion, it was only the economic benefits that were being looked at.

“Greenpeace believes that harmful seismic studies and potential oil spills are reason enough to steer clear of oil drilling off the coast of South Africa,” Dr Olbers stressed.

She said the seismic testing could injure whales, dolphins and other marine life.

According to a statement released by Allesandro Gelmetti, the Managing Director of Eni South Africa BV, the exploration phase was limited in time, and long-term benefits could only be talked about if something was found, which was not a guarantee.

“We are not here to take the resources of the country away. There is a need for energy here,” he said.

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