Oil giant Total will resume drilling for oil and gas by the end of February in the Brulpadda Basin near George after it has been stalled for a number of challenges for a while.
The news was announced at a media conference in Cape Town by Minister of Minerals and Energy, Gwede Mantashe.
During his first state speech two years ago, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said that the find at the Brulpadda Basin could change the entire economy of South Africa, so the resumption of drilling is a step forward.
During the media conference, Mantashe also made a wide range of other announcements.
On statements that mining taxes could be raised to be paid into the sovereign wealth fund to be established, he said his department’s opinion is that enough mining proceeds are already being paid into the state’s central resource fund.
His department would therefore rather recommend to the Treasury that such returns be transferred to the sovereign wealth fund, and that mining taxes should not be increased. However, the final decision on this is up to the Treasury.
According to Mantashe, the new Petroleum Industry Bill will not contain any controversy, as everything in it has been cleared up with the petroleum industry.
Regulations for municipalities to obtain electricity directly from independent suppliers (therefore not Eskom) are almost complete. Mantashe therefore believes both the current Cape Town court action against his department and the private members bill known as the Cheaper Electricity Bill, filed by DA MP Natasha Mazzone, is unnecessary.
Mantashe has rejected allegations that the government would not accept additional electricity offered to them by private providers.
“I hear and read about these offers everywhere. I put it straight: No offer was received by my department. The allegations are blinding, “Mantashe said.
He argues PetroSA does not have to close if Mossgas is exhausted soon, but could be expanded to serve the country more extensively.