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05 Oct 2017

Public participation urged for exploratory drilling programme along Richards Bay coastline

Tamlyn Jolly (Zululand Observer)

If the first is successful, there could be up to four deep-water wells drilled off the coast of Richards Bay THE

THE public are urged to register as Interested and Affected Parties (IAPs) to ensure they are kept abreast of exploratory drilling to take place off the coast of Richards Bay.

ENI South Africa and Sasol Africa hold exploration rights off South Africa’s east coast and are considering conducting an exploration drilling programme to assess the commercial viability of a hydrocarbon reservoir for future development.

The project requires Environmental Authorisation (EA) from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) through the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.

Still in the pre-application stage, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application will be submitted to DMR and a draft scoping report will be released within the next few months.

To obtain an EA, an EIA must be undertaken in terms of National Environmental Management Act regulations.

Environmental Resources Management (ERM) has been appointed as the independent environmental assessment practitioner for the EIA.

This will set out anticipated impacts arising from the project, and will propose measures on how these will be managed.

The EIA report will inform the EA decision to be taken by DMR, which has the capacity to authorise or refuse it.

As operator of ER236, the section set aside for exploratory drilling, ENI is considering drilling up to four deep-water wells within a 1 840km squared area of interest, in water depths of between 1 500m and 2 100m.

The number of wells drilled, and their locations, will be determined by various factors, including seismic data analysis, geological targets, and the presence of sea floor obstacles.

The success of the first well – whether or not valuable hydrocarbon is discovered – will determine the drilling of subsequent wells .

Drilling of the first well is set for late 2018 at an expected drilling depth of 3 800m, and is expected to take about two months to complete.

By registering as an IAP, the public can engage in discussions and comment on both the draft scoping and draft EIA reports.

The full background information document, complete with a form to register as an IAP, can be downloaded from www.erm.com/eni-exploration-eia, or email eni.offshore.eia@erm.com.

 

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