French multinational integrated energy company TotalEnergies has been granted approval to commence with drilling activities in Block 5/6/7, located off the Cape coast of South Africa.
The company plans to drill up to five offshore wells across the Block.
The approval follows the dismissal of an appeal by South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment in September 2023.
In the appeal, lobbyists sought to dispute the environmental authorization granted to the energy major in April this year, citing lack of adequate public consultation and environmental concerns.
Upon a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts of the project, the Ministry has dismissed the appeal, thereby giving TotalEnergies the greenlight to explore the offshore acreage.
“I am therefore satisfied that the impacts of noise and light have been adequately assessed and mitigated to ensure low impacts on the receiving environment,” Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, explained. “As such, this ground of appeal is dismissed.”
Covering an area of 10,000 km², the Block comprises water depths of between 700 and 3,200 meters. TotalEnergies (40%) alongside project partners Shell (40%) and National Oil Company PetroSA (20%) are currently at advanced planning stages to drill the first well in 2024.
Situated in close proximity to high-impact discoveries made in the Namibian side of the Orange Basin in 2022 and 2023, the Block offers promising returns.