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Deepwater Durban Exploration Area

Proposed Oil and Gas Exploration Activities

ExxonMobil Exploration and Production South Africa Limited (EMEPSAL) has submitted an application for an Exploration Right with the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) to explore for oil and gas reserves in the Deepwater Durban Exploration Area offshore of the East Coast of South Africa.

In terms of Section 79 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), an Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) covering the proposed activities must be prepared and submitted to PASA for consideration and for approval by the Minister of Mineral Resources.  The EMPr will evaluate the potential environmental and social impacts of the proposed activities and provide mitigation and management measures to avoid and reduce negative effects. 

PASA accepted EMEPSAL’s application on 22 November 2013 and the EMPr is due to be submitted to PASA by 18 March 2014.

Background Information

The Deepwater Durban  Exploration Area is located far from the coast and in deep water. It is approximately 50 km offshore of the East Coast of South Africa at its nearest point. The easternmost extent of the Exploration Area is approximately 380 km from the coast.  The total area of the Exploration Area is approximately 50,000 km² with water depths that range from 2,200 to 3,600 metres.

Proposed Activities 

EMEPSAL have proposed an initial three year exploration programme.

The proposed minimum programme would comprise the acquisition of airborne geophysics data  (7,000 km2) and the licensing (and possibly acquisition) of 2D seismic survey data (2,600 line km). EMEPSAL may however acquire additional airborne geophysics data (up to a total of 40,000 km2) and licence and acquire up to a total of 4,300 line km 2D seismic survey data.

Depending on the results from these surveys, the following activities may then be undertaken:

  • 2D and/or 3D seismic surveys
  • Seabed surface heat flow measurements
  • Seabed and water column sampling
  • Multibeam echo sounder and sub-bottom profile survey
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) survey

The additional activities would be carried out in sequence or parallel and the schedule for these activities has not yet been determined and would be dependent on the result of the initial surveys.

Invitation to Provide Input and Comment

Environmental Resources Management Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd (ERM) has been appointed to assist EMEPSAL in preparing the EMPr.  As part of the process, input and comment on the proposed activities is being solicited from stakeholders and the general public. 

Background Information Document

A more detailed Background Information Document, providing initial project information, has been compiled and is available for download below.

Background Information Document (426 kB)

Draft Environmental Management Programme

Executive Summary and Table of Contents

Part A:

Chapter 1 - General Information

Chapter 2 - Description of Proposed Activities

Chapter 3 - Description of Affected Environment

Chapter 4 - Public Consultation Activities

Appendix A - BID

Appendix B-1 - Adverts

Appendix B-2 - I&AP Correspondence

Appendix B-3 - I&AP Database

Appendix B-4 - Comments and Responses Report

Chapter 5 - Environmental Impact Assessment

Chapter 6 - Socio-economic Impact Assessment

Chapter 7 - Conclusions

Chapter 8 - References

Part B: Implementation Plan

Part C: Supporting Documentation

Final Environmental Management Programme

Executive Summary and Table of Contents

Part A:

Chapter 1 - General Information

Chapter 2 - Description of Proposed Activities

Chapter 3 - Description of Affected Environment

Chapter 4 - Public Consultation Activities

Appendix A - BID

Appendix B-1 - Adverts

Appendix B-2 - I&AP Correspondence

Appendix B-3 - I&AP Database

Appendix B-4 - Comments and Responses Report

Chapter 5 - Environmental Impact Assessment

Chapter 6 - Socio-economic Impact Assessment

Chapter 7 - Conclusions

Chapter 8 - References

Part B: Implementation Plan

Part C: Supporting Documentation

Invitation to Provide Input and Comment

Environmental Resources Management Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd (ERM) has been appointed to assist EMEPSAL in preparing the EMPr.  As part of the process, input and comment on the proposed activities is being solicited from stakeholders and the general public. 

Also, if you or your organization would like to register to receive further direct notifications about the EMPr process, please provide your details to the person below.

Tougheeda Aspeling

Telephone: 021 681 5400 or Fax. 021 686 0736
Address: 2nd Floor, Great Westerford, 
240 Main Rd, Rondebosch, 
Cape Town, 7700.
E-mail: deepwaterdurban@erm.com