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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Energy security and sustainable development Petroleum Agency South Africa is balancing the need to explore the country's natural resources with managing the environment. Can oil and gas continue to be exploited without destroying the environment? The answer to this question is what drives the environmental management policy of the country and is an ever-present conundrum in the work of Petroleum Agency South Africa. Speaking in the aftermath of court cases brought against seismic surveying, PASA CEO Dr Phindile Masangane has said, “We acknowledge that exploration and production of oil and gas has risks to our environment but we must also acknowledge that technology has advanced. As South Africans we have adopted those technological advancements that help us to minimise the risk to our environment. “What does this exploration entail? A lot has been said in the media about seismic surveys. Seismic surveys are actually a very old technology that has been used and it has matured now. “It has matured to an advanced state to make sure that the impact on our marine ecosystem is minimised. I think there is also a big misconception in the public that these seismic surveys are purely for the oil and gas industry. This technology is used not just for oil and gas, but it is actually used to define our maritime borders. In other countries it is used for offshore wind technologies. It is a misconception that seismic surveys are only applicable to oil and gas. “A seismic survey is literally releasing of pressurised air into our seabed and then we collect the signal as the sound bounces back into the bottom of the ship and that’s what helps us to collect data to know where the oil and gas is located underneath the seabed. “The impacts are well-known and there are mitigation measure that can be used to minimise these impacts,” Dr Masangane concluded. A just transition The International Energy Agency has recently released a report on energy on the continent. A major takeaway from the IEA report relates to Africa’s historical export of its oil and gas to power other regions. This serves to undermine the continent’s economic development. As Dr Masangane states, “It is time for Africa to shift gear and catch up with transformation.” Africa’s gas resources can reindustrialise some areas and industrialise for the first time some countries on the continent. Being able to supply electricity to citizens of South Africa and Africa is a key human development goal, and halting oil and gas exploration would make it more difficult to provide energy to places where electricity is scarce. Current methods of heating and lighting for poorer communities are themselves very polluting and lead to deforestation. If natural gas were to replace traditional methods, that would be a form of decarbonisation in that deforestation would be reduced. Gas as a fuel in the transport sector is also considerably less polluting than current options, which is why gas is increasingly being seen as a transitional energy source on the road to a cleaner, greener future. The multiple uses of gas could play a major role in helping South Africa transition away from fossil fuels while at the same time boosting economic growth and creating jobs, PASA CEO Dr Phindile Masangane 22 |

as illustrated on the right. “We need gas not just in electricity and transport,” noted Dr Masangane, “but importantly for South Africa, which is in desperate need of an economic turnaround, is for us to use this gas for our manufacturing industry.” In this way, a just energy transition can be achieved. Dr Masangane sums up the IEA report and its conclusion: “So the use of oil and gas can be part of the decarbonisation and I think that people give a false narrative that it cannot be part of your decarbonisation strategy. This report puts that argument to rest.” Balancing investment and environmental management South Africa has vast gas and oil resources and exploration and the exploitation of these resources has barely scratched the surface. Having to import oil and gas has a serious impact on the country’s balance of payments. This makes it more difficult to industrialise the country. For the 2021/22 financial year about 50 applications for exploration and production were received but only about 10% of that number were approved. This is because of very stringent licensing and environmental regulations which must be followed. As Dr Masangane explains, “We assure South Africans that the slow pace is because we have to make sure that we have a robust system that incorporates all the aspects of licensing but importantly, that the environmental impact assessment is thoroughly undertaken.” PETROLEUM AGENCY SOUTH AFRICA Mission To promote, facilitate and regulate exploration and sustainable development of oil and gas contributing to energy security in South Africa. Within Petroleum Agency South Africa’s five-year strategy there are five new objectives to enable it to effectively deliver on its mandate by “capturing the opportunities being presented by the changes in the environment as well as ensure that the Agency overcomes the challenges that its faces”. These initiatives are: • Increasing exploration activity, to move the industry from a predominately exploration phase to development and production phases • Sustainability to ensure the company has sufficient financial and human resources to carry out its responsibilities into the foreseeable future • Advocacy to provide input into policy and regulations that impact the industry it regulates • Digital transformation to adopt new, more efficient technologies • Operational excellence, to ensure efficiency of its processes. These five strategic objectives position the Agency as a strategic entity of government in its goal of diversifying the energy mix and developing the domestic gas market, embracing digitisation and automation to improve efficiency, rising to the requirements of the new legislation and finding a place in the global transition towards a low-carbon future. Values A diverse upstream industry contributing to energy security through sustainable growth in exploration and development of oil and gas. PASA’s value statement remains unchanged but a further aspect of value is being considered, namely value representation and creation. PASA delivers value to its shareholders and stakeholders. This value is created for all South Africans, for oil and gas companies investing in opportunities and for the Agency’s stakeholders including the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), the Central Energy Fund (CEF), host communities and NGOs and NPOs representing interested parties. PASA has been restructured internally in line with the new strategy. IT has been elevated beyond its former role as a support function, to drive the company’s digital transformation. In addition, the Agency now has a communications and stakeholder engagement function to respond to the negative perception about the oil and gas industry. Petroleum Agency SA @sa_petroleum Petroleum Agency of South Africa @petroleumagency

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