Court halts Shell’s offshore seismic survey

Shell says it respects the court’s decision.
Residents join a demonstration against Shell's plans to start seismic surveys to explore petroleum systems off the country's popular Wild Coast at Mzamba Beach, Sigidi, South Africa, December 5, 2021. Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

A South African high court on Tuesday blocked Shell from conducting seismic testing offshore from South Africa’s pristine Wild Coast, in the latest ruling in a case seeking to prevent the oil major from exploring for oil and gas.

On December 3 a different high court order gave Shell the go-ahead to conduct an extensive seismic survey off South Africa’s eastern coast, but this is stopped by Tuesday’s ruling that forms part of a broader court application contending Shell did not have the necessary environmental approvals.

“We respect the court’s decision and have paused the survey while we review the judgement,” a Shell spokesperson said.

Environmentalists and others have protested against Shell’s plans for seismic blasting, saying its underwater acoustics are harmful to marine animals, especially migrating whales.

“Shell must stop pending the resolution of our application for a final interdict, which we are equally confident of,” Johan Lorenzen, one of the lawyers representing fishing communities along the east coast told Reuters.

But, South Africa’s energy minister has defended Shell’s plans, saying its critics want to deprive Africa of energy resources.

Despite global efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and pressure from many governments and investors to limit the carbon emissions that drive global warming, offshore South Africa has seen a flurry of exploration activity and significant discoveries.

South Africa, which is a net importer of petroleum products, is eager to source feedstock for its state-run Mossel Bay gas-to-liquid refinery that was operating at a fraction of its output because of dwindling domestic gas supplies.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021


Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in and an Insider Gold subscriber to comment.


Well, MW quickly omitted it in the text below the pic

But is is 25% owned by the ANC … since 2002.

Is there is spot on earth that is not pristine? Does any community ever plead their case in court to force companies to drill for oil and gas in their area?

We rise in protest if our roads are not tarred and when the rising cost of fuel drives up the cost of living. We are dependent on the availability of cheap oil products but we use the courts to stop the production of these products. We force the company to stop producing the stuff that we put into the car and the taxi that took us to the protest meeting and enabled us to attend the court case.

The stinking oil companies should drill for oil and gas in someone else’s backyard, not ours. After we have built our monstrosity of a house right on the beach, we want to stop any further development in the area. After we have degraded the environment for our personal gain, we expect the courts to end any degradation of the area.

Our backyard is pristine, even though we have overgrazed the land, killed all the wildlife, exploited the natural environment with extractive farming techniques, polluted the water systems with waste that spills from leaking pipes in squatter camps, and poisoned the ocean with microplastic.

We ban all harmful activities but excuse our own. We force the business to comply with BEE regulations, to pay exorbitant wages to members of militant labor unions, to adhere to local beneficiation requirements, follow EE rules, pay redistributive municipal taxes and income tax, and then we ban that business from operating in our area.

We allow, and even applaud such schizophrenic behavior patterns in the name of environmentalism while we fill up our car and demand a cheap and reliable source of power.

End of comments.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Moneyweb newsletters

Instrument Details  

You do not have any portfolios, please create one here.
You do not have an alert portfolio, please create one here.

Follow us:

Search Articles:
Click a Company: