Global oil giant Total will commence with exploration drilling off SA’s south coast next month, after four years of planning. Total’s return also signals renewed investor confidence in SA, where exploration activity has been stalled by chronic policy uncertainty. But the government’s proposed withdrawal of the contested Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act Amendment Bill, and a commitment to develop a separate policy framework for oil and gas sectors, has been well received by industry. Niall Kramer, head of the South African Oil and Gas Alliance, said it is very significant that a major player such as Total was returning to re-drill, having spent so much time planning it, and it is a show of confidence in “SA Inc”. “Now that the policy framework seems to be moving in the right direction, we must focus on developing SA’s capability to participate and execute,” Kramer said. “Our neighbours on all sides are moving quickly and catalytic projects are under way. We need more ...

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