SRK Consulting environmentalists call for screening of new exploration project

11 April 2019 Consultancy.co.za

While the domestic and international business environments have demonstrated their eagerness to explore the new oil & gas reserves discovered off the Southern Coast of South Africa, proper environmental guidelines need to be in place in order to ensure that the reserves are judiciously utilised, according to an SRK Consulting executives.

The discovery was made earlier this year, and sparked excitement amongst the South African business community, as it was touted as the solution to South Africa’s economic woes in recent times. The new reserves will reportedly provide approximately 1 billion barrels.

Nevertheless, Sue Reuther, an Environmental Consultant at SRK Consulting has urged that these reserves should be treated judiciously to avoid causing any serious harm to the environment. On the other hand, the usage of natural gas is a boon to the environment, give that it has a lower carbon output than coal energy.

The new reserves could cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 50%, if handled correctly. Scot Masson, who is also an Environmental Consultant at SRK Consulting, has recommended that the screening of environmental sustainability should be conducted amongst other preliminary regulatory permissions. 

SRK Consulting environmentalists call for screening of new exploration project

Developers usually have to apply for a technical cooperation permit, at which time an environmental screening should also be conducted. One considerable threat from exploration is the underwater noise emitted from exploration equipment.

“This underwater noise can have impacts on marine fauna, including pathological injury and behavioural responses that may affect feeding and breeding success. Marine fauna can also be injured in collisions with the seismic survey vessel or support vessel, or when they become entangled with towed equipment,” said Masson.

Reuther added that companies should make use of the mechanisms already in place to minimise the effects of such projects. “To minimise the chance of accidents, the oil and gas industry has developed and routinely implements protocols, such as airgun soft-start procedures and the use of blow-out preventers and water-based drilling muds. These inform mitigation measures included in EIAs conducted for such projects in South Africa.”

SRK Consulting has become an integral part of South Africa's development in the mining and natural resources domain. Recognised for its adept analysis and reporting, the firm is an important source of information for natural resources companies looking to navigate the current South African economy.


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