Gas and oil exploration: company clarifies

2016-09-21 09:47
Vise-president of exploration company Rhino Oil and Gas said the decision to reduce their area based on "geological data".

Vise-president of exploration company Rhino Oil and Gas said the decision to reduce their area based on "geological data". (File)

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The vice-president of exploration company Rhino Oil and Gas said that the decision to reduce their area of exploration was based on “geological data”.

Phillip Steyn was speaking after environmentalists continued to express concern over the company’s plans, even after it halved the area it is applying for permission to explore. The environmentalists said Rhino had only reduced the exploration area for cost reasons.

Rhino Oil and Gas’s first application covered 1,5 million hectares of land in KZN, encompassing over 10 000 properties, including farms.

The area was reduced to 850 000 hectares, covering around 6 700 properties.

“The decision to reduce the application area is based purely on geological data through ongoing desktop studies,” said Steyn.

He sa id the company was focusing its efforts on areas that had the highest resource prospectivity.

Steyn said that narrowing the scope of the area originally applied for was a “natural part of the exploration process”.

“Areas unlikely to be positive for oil and gas are excluded, as are known protected areas.”

Steyn said Rhino had also excluded ground-based drilling and seismic surveys from its current application.

“The proposed early-phase exploration work that still has to be authorised is analysis of existing data and an aerial full tensor gravity gradiometry (FTG) survey. Airborne data collection will allow Rhino to survey large areas efficiently.”

He said this method also avoided issues concerning access and problems with terrain associated with “sensitive environments”.

The aerial survey was able to produce a “relatively detailed interpretation” of the subsurface geology, which he said was needed for future exploration objectives.

“Once the raw data has been analysed and mapped, desktop work will select specific sites for core hole drilling or seismic surveys.”

Steyn said, however, that this would need approval from the Petroleum Association of South Africa (Pasa). “The survey may also determine that no further exploration is warranted in some areas.”

He said the data collected by the aerial survey would only be seen by Rhino and Pasa, and that all data would be made available to Pasa at the end of any exploration.

Read more on:    pietermaritzbrug  |  fracking

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