Picture: 123RF/ SEBASTIEN DECORET
Picture: 123RF/ SEBASTIEN DECORET

The government is forging ahead with its plans to develop and exploit the country’s oil and gas prospects, which have changed dramatically in recent years. In 2019, Total announced a gigantic gas find, the Brulpadda offshore exploration block, and a 2020 find in the adjacent Luiperd block increased the potential gas output off Mossel Bay, which is now considered one of the most exciting areas for gas exploration in the world.

At the same time, onshore helium and natural gas producer Renergen has reported “spectacular” finds in the Free State.

However, in its new road map for achieving net-zero global carbon emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency laid out in stark terms what the planet must do to avoid harmful climate change, which includes no new oil, gas and coal investments beyond 2021 — and just how far that is from our current reality here in SA as Cop 26 in Glasgow rapidly approaches.

The Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill was recently approved by the cabinet and will soon be tabled in parliament.

Michael Avery spoke to the deputy director-general responsible for policy, global relations and investment promotion, Ntokozo Ngcwabe; Stefano Marani, the CEO of Renergen; Nick Mitchell, chair of the Onshore Petroleum Association of SA; and Peter Attard Montalto, head of Capital Markets Research at Intellidex, about balancing the country’s net carbon zero by 2050 commitments with the economic potential of the recent oil and gas finds off SA’s coastline.

Michael Avery talks to a panel about balancing SA's net carbon zero by 2050 commitments with the economic potential of recent oil and gas finds off the coast

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