ASX-listed Challenger Energy earlier this month said that it was confident of positive developments in key legislation and the progression of its application process to embark on shale-gas exploration in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.
Constructive and positive engagement had been undertaken with the South African government over the past year, with progress made on the contested Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) Amendment Bill and the licence application process for the exploration of shale gas.
“At this point, we anticipate that either a mutually acceptable revision to the MPRDA will be proposed to Parliament or the controversial clauses will be suspended, pending the splitting of the legislation into separate Acts covering mining and oil and gas.
“Either way, it seems this may now be off the critical path and the government can proceed,” MD Robert Willes said in the company’s quarterly update.
Linked to government’s Operation Phakisa initiative, bilateral processes between the Department of Mineral Resources and industry associations, the Offshore Petroleum Association of South Africa and the Onshore Petroleum Association of South Africa, had been established, with engagements taking into account the frontier nature of South Africa’s petroleum industry, along with the imperative to achieve the national development goals outlined in the National Development Plan.
“There was a convergence on key principles and a clear desire on the part of government to move the process forward,” he said.
Challenger’s subsidiary Bundu Gas and Oil Exploration was aiming to explore for shale gas across some 3 500 km2, adjacent to licence areas for which Shell and Falcon had applied to explore for shale gas.