South Africa granted an environmental permit for exploration activity in the Orange Basin off the nation’s west coast, adding to other work planned offshore.
The area, which includes blocks licensed by TotalEnergies and Africa Oil Corp, received authorization from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on April 17, according to an Environmental Impact Management Services email notice.
Proposed work includes seismic programs — a method of research using sound pulses to identify geology — that have been opposed by activists who cite risks to marine life.
The project area is 120 kilometres offshore of St. Helena Bay, extending north to 230 kilometres offshore of Hondeklip Bay.
TotalEnergies is also planning exploration work, including drilling as many as ten wells in a neighbouring area known as the Deep Water Orange Basin.
Total and Shell made significant oil discoveries north of the block in Namibian waters last year. Previously, surveys, including one planned by Shell, have been blocked in South African courts following protests by community groups.