South Africa’s petroleum resources sector is one of the focal points of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), and its development will benefit the economy.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, speaking earlier this month to the Deepwater East and Southern Africa Congress 2017, which focused on South African oil and gas law reform and the future upstream and offshore industry development, said a report on

“Our mineral resources are a major contributor towards our GDP, and we hope to augment this contribution with our petroleum resources, a relatively new sector in the South African context,” said Zwane.

He said exploration requires “patience and steady guidance” of regulations to achieve growth. This is tied to the finalisation of the MPRDA. “The bill, which is going through the Parliamentary processes at present, enhances provisions relating to petroleum development in order to secure a win-win mechanism as the process for development evolves,” he said.

Currently there are over 300 exploration wells, which include drilled appraisal and production wells. The exploration has resulted in the discovery of “several small oil and gas fields”, and the commercial production of oil and gas from the Bredasdorp Basin, he said.

South Africa will be pursuing the exploration of shale gas resources in the Karoo basin. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, it is estimated to have 390 trillion cubic feet in unproven technically recoverable shale gas resources.

“It is expected that the development of this gas will contribute positively to our economy, in diversifying our energy mix and the development of other support industries,” said Zwane.

A moratorium has been established in the meantime to ensure exploration is undertaken responsibly, to account for the environmental, water and socio-economic impacts of the development.