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The EMS Foundation urges you to register as an Interested and Affected Party BEFORE 4TH JULY 2022

The EMS Foundation−a South African not-for-profit and a social justice organisation that promotes the rights and interests of vulnerable groups, particularly children, the elderly and wild animals−would like to bring to your urgent attention an environmental authorisation application by Total Energies EP South Africa Block 567 (Pty) Ltd (“TEEPSA”), and its partners Shell 40% and PetroSA 20%, to undertake exploration well drilling in Block 5/6/7 off the South West Coast of South Africa.  

The area is located offshore roughly between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas, approximately 60km from the coast at its closest point in water depths between 700m and 3200m. The plan includes the drilling of one exploration well and success dependent, up to four additional wells, the objective of drilling exploration wells is to determine whether geological structures contain commercially viable oil or gas reserves.

The area of exploration includes critically endangered eco-systems and benthic habitats, close to eight Marine Protected Areas and twelve Critical Biodiversity Areas, along whale migratory routes and breeding areas and only a few nautical miles away from the penguin colonies of Boulders and Robben Island, and from the seals on Seal Island. 

SLR Consulting (South Africa) has been appointed as the Independent Environmental Assessment Practitioner to undertake the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) processes for this proposed project.

The link to the documents, the period to submit comments has been extended to 4th July 2022 : http://slrconsulting.com/en/public-documents/TEEPSA-567

The SLR Consulting scoping document indicates that there are predicted impacts and risks, including: 

  • contribution to greenhouses gases (climate change); 
  • reduction in air quality;
  • reduction in water quality; 
  • displacement of fauna from important feeding and breeding sites;
  • physical seabed and benthic fauna / habitat disturbance;
  • destruction of eggs and larvae;
  • underwater continuous drilling noise; 
  • disturbance of marine mammals;
  • reduction in fish populations; 
  • displacement of fish; 
  • impacts on local and industrial fishery; 
  • drilling near a WWII explosive dump;
  • drilling in possible radioactive grounds; 
  • drilling through toxic muds; 
  • discharge;
  • spills;
  • loss of equipment at sea; 
  • well blow-out.

Risks will also include oil pollution in sensitive coastal habitats and marine fauna, with the probable resultant  reduction of income for secondary and tertiary sectors that support the local tourism industry, the fishing and other coastal economies. 

Southern Africa was identified as a climate change hotspot in a 2018 Special Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Southern Africa is heating up and becoming drier at twice the global average rate, increasing the risks of public safety and food security. 

Well-functioning terrestrial and marine ecosystems are crucial for regulating the climate. These systems currently absorb roughly half of all human created carbon emissions. positive role of megafauna such as whales in climate change resilience is the subject of peer reviewed studies.  

The EMS Foundation urges you to write to TEEPSA-567@slrconsulting.com and register as an Interested & Affected Party (I&AP) and raise your objections to the proposed project in its entirety. 

Image Credits: SLR Consulting and Hermanus Whales

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