Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has confirmed that the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) is engaged in oil exploration activities.
She insisted that this is provided for in terms of the company’s memorandum of incorporation.
SFF is in charge of the country’s strategic fuel stocks and was recently embroiled in a scandal involving the sale of 10-million barrels of this stock without Treasury approval.
The minister’s confirmation that it is also involved in oil exploration — historically the domain of state-owned PetroSA — came in a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay.
Mackay wanted to know whether the SFF and Nigeria’s Atlas Petroleum had been allocated acreage in Equatorial Guinea’s latest licensing round and what were the legislative or regulatory provisions that allowed it to do this.
Kubayi said in terms of SFF’s memorandum of incorporation, its main business "is to carry on the business of facilitating the exploitation of fuels and commodities which are or may become of strategic importance to the Republic of SA, not for gain but solely in the communal interests of the general public, and to perform any other acts towards this end".
The minister said a letter had been sent by a former South African minister of energy to Equatorial Guinea’s then minister of energy acknowledging SFF’s participation in negotiations relating to the project, the parameters of which (including SFF’s obligations) have yet to be defined.
SFF’s obligations and the capital expenditure budget would emerge following the conclusion of negotiations between the parties, Kubayi said.