Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has welcomed the arrival of the DeepSea Stavanger oil and gas drill rig, in Cape Town, which has been commissioned by petrochemicals company Total.
Total and its partners will drill the Luiperd prospect in Block 11B/12B off the Mossel Bay coast, in the Western Cape.
Mantashe says in a statement that the arrival of the drill rig has reaffirmed South Africa as an investment destination of choice for the exploration of oil and gas, despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies around the world.
The drill rig is part of a $400-million oil and gas exploration drilling campaign by Total, with about R1.5-billion being spent in South Africa through the hospitality industry, offshore services and equipment, and training and contracting of local companies to support the drilling programme.
The drilling campaign is expected to take between 180 and 300 days.
Mantashe states that the investment will further enable South Africa to diversify its energy mix, as envisioned in the Integrated Resources Plan 2019, by using all the primary energy resources that the country is endowed with, including gas.
Government will be supporting this project by finalising the Upstream Petroleum Bill, which aims to balance the need to attract investment into this sector of the economy and ensuring that oil and gas activities do not happen at the expense of the environment and water resources.