French massive has finished a spherical of public conferences
- TotalEnergies is set to put up its ultimate utility to drill up to 5 wells to seek for oil or fuel alongside the coast between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.
- The ultimate spherical of public participation conferences was once finished this month.
- Some environmental teams are opposing the undertaking. They say oil and fuel must now not be a part of South Africa’s transition from coal.
- But TotalEnergies says fuel will significantly cut back carbon emissions.
French power massive TotalEnergies is making ready to put up its ultimate utility for approval to drill up to 5 wells for oil or fuel between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas. The undertaking has met opposition from environmental teams however the corporate says it is a part of South Africa’s transition from coal.
The scoping and environmental have an effect on procedure began in May this 12 months. If the undertaking is authorized, the drill space will span about 10,000 sq. kilometres, with the nearest level 60km from the coast and the furthest 170 kilometres.
This utility is one in a hurry of offshore oil and fuel programs alongside South Africa’s coast. This is a part of a much broader growth by way of multinational firms into Africa, as a contemporary file by way of environmental analysis staff Urgewald, in partnership with dozens of organisations in Africa and Europe, presentations.
TotalEnergies is the most important oil and fuel developer in Africa. In this undertaking, it holds a 40% hobby within the block, and is the operator. Shell has a 40% hobby and the state-owned Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) has 20%.
A public participation procedure concluded closing week after conferences in coastal communities, together with Saldanha Bay, Hout Bay, Kleinmond and Hermanus. This shaped a part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). Independent assessors from SRL Consulting evaluated marine ecology have an effect on, noise have an effect on, socio-economic have an effect on, fisheries have an effect on, local weather have an effect on, and air high quality have an effect on.
The public can be ready to put up public feedback till 7 December 2022. All the ESIA paperwork may also be accessed right here.
The Urgewald file issues out that during 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a roadmap, in keeping with the Paris local weather settlement of 2015, for fighting international temperatures from emerging above 1.5°C. “According to this roadmap, exploration for new oil and gas reserves should cease and no further oil and gas fields should be developed beyond those that were already underway in 2021.”
Yet, the file issues out, “in 48 out of 55 African nations, oil, gas and coal companies are either exploring or developing new fossil reserves, building new fossil infrastructure such as pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals or developing new gas- and coal-fired power plants”.
“These enormous fossil expansion plans are completely incompatible with the Paris goals and will lock African countries into an obsolete and carbon-heavy energy path,” says the Urgewald file.
But in a abstract of its have an effect on evaluate file, SRL says the desire to cut back carbon emissions to 0 by way of 2050 “is balanced with the need to grow the economy and create jobs”.
The govt “currently promotes the use of natural gas as part of the energy mix up to 2030 to serve as a transition to a carbon-neutral goal and provide the flexibility required to complement renewable energy sources,” says SRL.
Oil and fuel exploration paperwork a part of the South African govt’s priorities as a part of the Operation Phakisa’s Oceans Economy programme so as to cut back “dependence on expensive oil and gas imports”. But some environmental organisations and individuals of the general public are pronouncing oil and fuel must now not be in South Africa’s long run in any respect and that it does not have a spot within the nation’s dedication to a “just transition” to 0 carbon emissions by way of 2050.
Natural fuel is neither “sustainable” nor “clean”, says Janet Solomon, co-founder of environmental coalition Oceans Not Oil. In its objections to the TotalEnergies undertaking, Oceans Not Oil says the concept herbal fuel produces much less carbon emissions than coal is deceptive, on account of methane leakage which is commonplace throughout oil and fuel operations.
Also, says Solomon, renewables are a quicker method to meet the rustic’s power wishes.
Solomon mentioned that the ESIA additionally did not imagine the fishing communities and the have an effect on the exploration undertaking would have on their heritage. “We’ve got a large informal economy that is totally reliant on a healthy ocean, from tourism to fisheries,” she mentioned. “The ocean is sacred to a lot of cultures in South Africa.”
Not many fishers attended the general public assembly held in Hout Bay previous this month to talk about the undertaking. This was once as a result of they did not are aware of it was once going down, says fisher Reagan James, Chief of the Katz Korana Royal House, who lives in Hout Bay and did attend the assembly.
“We make our livelihoods out of the sea. … Oil and gas is not going to benefit our community,” he mentioned.
Greenpeace Africa spokesperson Chris Vlavianos informed GroundUp the TotalEnergies undertaking could be shut to a number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). “These are lifelines for local communities”, he mentioned, and nurseries for fish species.
Vlavianos says it’s “nonsensical” to pursue oil and fuel within the context of the “just transition”. “It will achieve nothing but locking us into a high emissions trajectory, with little real economic benefits to people on the ground. Often, the jobs and economic upliftment promised by these projects do not materialise.”
The abstract of the environmental evaluate does display that the exploration undertaking overlaps with spaces the place 4 species are fished, however means that with verbal exchange and coordination with fishers, its have an effect on may also be mitigated. The file notes that many of us are “directly reliant on the ocean and coast for their livelihood, and social and spiritual wellbeing”.
Els Vermeulen, director of the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit on the University of Pretoria, who attended the assembly in Hermanus, mentioned she had no main issues concerning the have an effect on of the undertaking on whales and mammals. She mentioned that the have an effect on evaluate have been neatly performed, that the exploration could be quick time period and now not throughout the whale migration season.
TotalEnergies spokesperson Stéphanie Dezaunay, mentioned: “In South Africa, TotalEnergies is positioning itself as a player in the evolution of the country’s energy mix as part of the necessary transition from coal to renewable energies and gas”.
“South Africa’s economy is still predominantly coal-based, accounting for 80% of its current electricity generation. Access to energy, and in particular meeting the growing demand for electricity, is a major concern in South Africa, where load shedding and power cuts have been almost a daily occurrence for nearly 15 years and where air pollution from fine particles linked to coal burning is frequent,” Dezaunay mentioned.
She mentioned the usage of fuel as a substitute of coal would halve carbon emissions and “drastically reduce air pollution”. TotalEnergies was once additionally operating on sun and wind power, she mentioned.
Asked how a lot of the output from the undertaking could be used within the home marketplace and what sort of could be exported, she didn’t answer by the point of newsletter.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy didn’t reply to GroundUp’s questions.