Rhino Oil and Gas at it again!

30 September 2020 - After losing the anti-fracking fight last year to farmers in KwaZulu Natal, Rhino Oil and Gas South Africa (Pty) Ltd have appointed environmental consultancy SLR yet again to apply for a new Exploration Right (350 ER) in the Free State and KwaZulu Natal provinces. This covers an area extending from the Upper Tugela region to Warden and includes 4370 farms in Harrismith, Kestell, Bethlehem, Reitz and Lindley (shown below) and which can also be viewed on the groundWork battlemap.

The sole purpose of holding an Exploration Right is to identify viable petroleum resource areas with the intention to extract which will include extraction methods such as fracking and drilling. Rhino wants to explore for oil, gas, condensate, coal bed methane, helium situated in areas within our water factories or strategic water source areas.

On 29 September 2020, groundWork submitted comments and a request for Rhino to withdraw their application due to the high number of objections and that the Scoping Report did not cover any potential impacts should an economically viable petroleum resource be found. This was a deliberate attempt at downplaying the potential impacts of petroleum exploration and extraction. Fracking and drilling to extract petroleum resources will requires vast quantities of water averaging 20 million litres per drill well with about 20 drill wells per square kilometre. Water is therefore an important consideration of exploration that is not covered in the application. Watch Jeff Barbee’s video The High Cost of Cheap Gas.

The application failed to address fossil fuel development impacts on rising global temperatures with increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Suitable and sustainable energy alternatives to petroleum exploration and extraction were not included.

Only a fraction of the landowners were notified and none of the community land users and land dwellers. SLR tried previously to bypass these important stages of public participation processes with TEPSA (Total)’s offshore prospecting application in July this year.

You can read the groundWork submission here,