Ocean conservation groups have halted, for now, a multinational oil and gas exploration venture off the KwaZulu-Natal coast, charging that it would open the floodgates for further oil drilling before there was a proper evaluation of potentially catastrophic environmental damage.

The WildOceans conservation alliance lodged an appeal this week with Barbara Creecy, the minister of environmental affairs, forestry & fisheries, against the environmental authorisation granted jointly to Sasol and the Italian multinational Eni to drill up to six deep-sea exploration wells off the coast of Durban and Richards Bay.

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