Total Postpones and Withdraws

Activists protest Total's drilling plans

14 April 2021 - After months of resisting Total's (TEPSA) application for an Environmental Authorisation (EA) for an additional ten exploration drill wells and seismic testing in Block 11B/12B, the company has withdrawn the application. The proposed exploration was to take place east of the existing exploration wells Brulpadda and Luiperd 1 situated in middle of the Algulhas current off the South African coast near Mossel Bay.

Community groups and organisations groundWork, SDCEA, JA!, Oceans Not Oil, Green Connection, Centre for Environmental Rights, Frack Free SA, Ban Fracking SA, fisherfolk and coastal communities welcome the decision but are seeking clarity on the reasons behind the decision. We await a response from the Environmental Assessment Practitioner, Matthew Hemming of SLR following emails requesting reasons. The SLR’s attached notification letter stated that the Total “has decided to postpose their application for additional drilling” and that the “application for the EA.. has been withdrawn and this ESIA (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) process has been terminated”.  Their Holding Statement released on 14th April 2021 indicate that once geotechnical studies are completed, TEPSA will review its activities and relaunch an application. The findings of these studies will have to be made public. There must be full transparency and accountability for energy decision-making.

Communities and organisations remain concerned over the impacts of fossil fuel developments on rising energy costs, climate change and damaged ecosystems.  Government’s skewed procurement of gas locks us into fossil fuels for the next few decades which is subject to market volatility, lacks local content and closes out the spaces for renewable energy options. It also slows down the just transition to a more sustainable, accessible and affordable energy future for all.