Many South African politicians, economists and specialists in the energy sector are celebrating the news that a promising show of natural gas has been discovered in deep water south of Mossel Bay. It was found in an offshore prospecting area called Brulpadda, which is licensed to global energy giant Total. The discovery, comes against the backdrop of rising fuel prices and an electricity utility in crisis, and has raised hopes that it may be a game-changer. The Conversation Africa’s Nontobeko Mtshali spoke to Robert Scholes and Rod Crompton about the significance of the find. Is this an energy game-changer? It’s not yet clear how big the find is. In a press release, Total said it “could be about 1-billion barrels of global resources, gas and condensate light oil”. To put that in perspective, SA’s total refinery capacity is 700,000 barrels of oil per day. The gas is present over a relatively large, vertical distance (57m), but it’s not clear how extensive the gas-rich area is. We sim...

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