In a move that is likely to create more uncertainty in the petroleum sector, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe last week published a notice restricting applications for oil and gas exploration and development in order to allow his department to change its licensing process. The South African oil and gas industry is said to hold the key to the country’s energy security challenges. But the proposed amendments to regulations governing extraction have created additional uncertainty for local and international investors, the Davis tax committee said in a report in 2017. According to the notice published in the Government Gazette on June 28, the moratorium will not affect applications received before the date of publication of the notice. The sector has been hampered by uncertainty, which has stifled its growth. Royal Dutch Shell in 2017 relinquished a licence to search for oil off SA due to legislative uncertainty. Other companies with permits in the country’s mostly unexplored o...

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