SA is firmly embracing resource nationalism. As the country dives into this uncertain policy approach, hopes of substantial economic dividends from a new oil and gas industry are being vanquished.

The new Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill, published on Christmas eve, is the latest and clearest step towards resource nationalism in SA. The bill calls for a 20% free equity interest in all gas and oil exploration and production for the state, via PetroSA. The parastatal will have full voting rights attached to the 20% (known as a “carried interest”), which will presumably mean it will have board seats too. It must also have an operating agreement with the operator of the asset.

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