Gwede Mantashe. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/SOWETAN
Gwede Mantashe. Picture: VELI NHLAPO/SOWETAN

The government has started the process of developing a petroleum resources development bill which will separate petroleum from the regulatory framework governing traditional minerals. 

In February 2019 French multinational oil and gas company Total had a gas-condensate find off the coast of Mossel Bay.   SA also has shale gas potential in the Karoo.

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe said the bill will soon undergo public participation, cabinet and parliamentary processes. 

“The bill will further provide regulatory certainty to the upstream petroleum industry and stimulate growth and development of this sector,” Mantashe said. 

He said the government was convinced that it would add growth to the economy if petroleum was developed into a fully fledged sector. 

He made the announcement during his address in the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address in the joint sitting of the national assembly and the national council of provinces. 

He also said that significant work had been done to remove the uncertainty that held back the development of the mining industry in particular, with the finalisation of the Mining Charter and separation of petroleum from the regulatory framework governing traditional minerals. 

Mantashe said the mining and energy sector had “‘huge potential for exploration, production and beneficiation”. 

“It is for this reason that we have prioritised the restoration of a policy and regulatory environment that is stable and predictable,” Mantashe said. 

Other priorities included providing universal access to energy and lowering the cost of energy.

He said as the government was working towards finalising the country’s energy mix options, the debate had to move away from the “polarised view” which currently characterised it.

“It should never be an issue of coal versus renewables, but rather about how we can best balance our requirements to grow the economy by ensuring security of energy supply,” Mantashe said. 

He said the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 will indicate SA’s primary energy requirements, in respect of coal, nuclear, gas and other energy minerals, plus solar, wind, biomass and regional hydropower resources. 

He said in order to ensure investment in the required energy infrastructure including power plants, refineries, pipelines, transmission and distribution wires, storage facilities for oil and gas, the government must ensure that all the enablers for this infrastructure rollout, particularly legislative and institutional arrangements, were in place.

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