Gwede Mantashe. Picture: GCIS
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: GCIS

SA will relax a moratorium on gas and oil exploration licences implemented earlier in 2018 to allow exploration and production applications already in the system to be granted, mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

“This amendment will ensure that applications currently in our system are processed and granted,” Mantashe told an oil and gas industry meeting.

In June, Mantashe published a notice in the government gazette announcing a restriction on the granting of technical co-operation permits, exploration rights and production rights.

"We can't delay exploration because we want to accelerate investment," he said.

Investment in the industry stalled due to regulatory uncertainty and lower crude prices.

Companies with offshore acreage and exploration ambitions in SA include Total , Eni, Sasol and ExxonMobil. 

Reuters