Shell’s South African partner dismissed fears that seismic surveys for offshore oil and gas could endanger marine life and warned that halting searches could leave the country entirely dependent on crude imports.
There is no evidence that seismic testing has “had any biologically significant impact on any marine populations in areas in which surveys have been conducted anywhere in the world,” Hosken Consolidated Investments said in an open letter published on its website. The company is an investor in Impact Oil and Gas, in which Shell owns a 50% stake.
Shell temporarily halted its search for offshore oil and gas reserves and its vessel left South African waters after a court on December 28 granted local activists an interim interdict blocking any seismic surveys until a ruling can be made on whether further environmental authorization is required.
“Some people may believe the most important social contribution they can make is to inhibit oil exploration in South Africa, but their success will not end our demand for oil,” the company said. “It will simply leave us completely dependent on importing it at huge cost to our foreign reserves.”