Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS

SA should accelerate efforts in oil and gas exploration, which could go a long way in curbing the rampant fuel price hikes, energy minister Jeff Radebe said.

SA has been hit by record-high fuel prices due to a rising oil price and weak rand. This has prompted the government to explore ways to curb the increases, including the possible introduction of measures to boost competition in setting the price of 93-octane petrol.

“As indicated previously, there are no short term fixes to fuel prices, especially because the causes are mainly geopolitical and [due to] sentiments on emerging markets,” Radebe said in a reply to a question from the DA in parliament.

“In the medium to long term, taking into account the current reality of unproven reserves in our country, we need to look at more prolific countries and invest in blocks producing crude oil, particularly on the African continent.

‘‘This will require financial resources, as exploration is quite a costly but necessary exercise. I have begun a process of engaging with my counterparts in Nigeria, South Sudan, and Equatorial Guinea as part of our intervention to mitigate future challenges.” 

Radebe said SA will ultimately be in a better position when it is able to produce its own oil and gas.

“An economy of our size cannot continue to operate without significant investment in oil and gas. [The] time has come for us to remove any regulatory impediments to exploration. Linked to this is the need to urgently unlock the potential for shale gas in our country,’’ he said. 

‘‘This has been years in the making and the regulatory uncertainty meant investors could not make decisions. Licensing must be seamless and efficient with decisions taken timeously.”