Local NGOs slam gas, oil exploration

2018-07-19 06:00

NON-governmental organisations have slammed the proposed oil and gas exploration off the coasts of Richards Bay and Port Shepstone.

This comes after the Durban South Community Environmental Alliance (DSCEA) held a public hearing into the exploration on Tuesday at the Marburg Library.

This was one of a series of public hearings being held.

Environmental activist Desmond D’Sa, of the DSCEA, said the drilling would have a negative impact on marine life.

He also doubted whether the touted job creation would benefit locals.


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

One of the proposed deep-sea drilling sites is 62km offshore of Richards Bay; the other 65km off Port Sheptsone’s shoreline.

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

The drilling is expected to be about 62km from the shore, near Richards Bay. The area to be explored is 1 840km2. The second area would be about 65km from the shore, near Durban, the report said. The area to be explored is about 2 905km2.

The report 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% is sourced from the local production of synfuels from coal and gas, the report indicated.

If the exploration is successful, the benefits could be 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. She said 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.

It was only the economic benefits that were being looked at, she said.

“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 said.

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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