Oceans Not Oil has started a petition calling on Minister for the Environment Barbara Creecy, to withdraw her approval of Italian oil corporation ENI and Sasol’s application (ER236), for exploratory drilling offshore of Richards Bay and Scottburgh.
These companies, with poor safety reputations, were given the go ahead to drill at record depths in the Agulhas Current, known to be one of the strongest in the world. The KwaZulu-Natal oil wells are planned to be between 3,8 – 4,1 km deep offshore Richards Bay and 5,1 km offshore Scottburgh.
Government economic development program Operation Phakisa promises to deliver nine billion barrels of oil, and eleven billion barrels of oil equivalent of gas, from the offshore wells. However, by continuing with the offshore oil and gas development program, the minister is failing to properly manage our exposure to climate and pollution risks.
Offshore application ER236 risks:
- Melting over a hundred square kilometres of Arctic ice
- Acoustic pollution and trauma from seismic surveys
- Oils spills and chronic pollution
- Introducing invasive species
- Disturbing our coastal and marine ecosystems
South Africa is heating at twice the global average and is emitting twice the global average CO2. It is likely we will reach a 3℃ increase this decade, becoming hotter and drier, with more extreme weather shocks.
The ocean is the reason we are alive
- It has absorbed 90% of greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, but cannot absorb all the heat added by these emissions.
- Surface temperature is heating up 24 times faster than a few decades ago and keeps accelerating.
- Absorbing CO2 causes water to become more acidic, corroding protective animal shells and corals.
- More CO2 affects sea water circulation by slowing it down, causing less oxygen circulating. Without oxygen even more species will die.
The Minister for the Environment has completely side-stepped the critique that there has been no Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the offshore oil and gas sector in South Africa – broadly recognized as an important tool to promote sustainability-driven decision making. She has failed to explore energy alternatives and excluded the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of this exploration to our climate future.
Oceans Not Oil: save SA’s coastline and future!
The Minister for the environment’s approval does nothing to protect the already heavily compromised sea, upon which we all rely, nor break down the massive political barriers to decarbonising electricity generation in South Africa.
As South Africans we demand a reduction of emissions by half by 2030. It is imperative that Minister Creecy withdraws her approval of ER236 before it’s too late.