It's 'poppycock': Shell's SA partner HCI blasts seismic survey uproar

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Concerned citizens objected to Shell's planned seismic off the Wild Coast by means of protests and petitions.
Concerned citizens objected to Shell's planned seismic off the Wild Coast by means of protests and petitions.
Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Shell's South African partner dismissed fears that seismic surveys for offshore oil and gas could endanger marine life, calling it "poppycock", while warning that halting the process could leave the country entirely dependent on crude imports.

There is no evidence that seismic testing has "had any biologically significant impact on any marine populations in areas in which surveys have been conducted anywhere in the world," Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) said in an open letter published on its website. The company is an investor in Impact Oil and Gas in which Shell owns a 50% stake.

HCI's CEO is former trade unionist and erstwhile ANC MP Johnny Copelyn. He is also the chair of eMedia Holdings, of which HCI owns a majority stake.

Shell temporarily halted its search for offshore oil and gas reserves along the Wild Coast and its vessel left South African waters after a court on December 28 granted local activists an interim interdict blocking any seismic surveys until a ruling can be made on whether further environmental authorization is required.

"Some people may believe the most important social contribution they can make is to inhibit oil exploration in South Africa, but their success will not end our demand for oil," HCI said.

"It will simply leave us completely dependent on importing it at huge cost to our foreign reserves."

This comes as Australian Geoscience data company Searcher plans to oppose a legal challenge by West Coast communities seeking to interdict its proposed seismic survey in the area.

Seismic surveys involve the use of airguns to direct sound pulses into the water - which helps with mapping out the seabed to potentially find oil or gas resources. The applicants have raised concerns of the harmful impact this will have on marine and bird life.

with Fin24

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.85
+0.2%
Rand - Pound
19.77
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
16.74
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.18
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.4%
Gold
1,834.45
-0.4%
Silver
21.74
-0.8%
Palladium
1,989.00
-1.0%
Platinum
958.50
-0.9%
Brent Crude
112.04
+2.6%
Top 40
61,303
-0.7%
All Share
67,870
-0.6%
Resource 10
72,925
+2.2%
Industrial 25
73,242
-3.4%
Financial 15
15,829
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot