Another suitor for Bredasdorp basin

Impact Africa has obtained rights from the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) to explore for oil and gas on a 14 378 km2 expanse offshore of West Bredasdorp, located roughly between Mossel Bay and Cape Agulhas.

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The Bredasdorp Basin has been the focus of drilling activity since 1980 and Impact Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of British company Impact Oil & Gas, believed the acreage has significant potential. "Impact is currently studying the extensive inventory of data from the area to determine the best methods for further exploration. Our final analysis of the potential of the area and our proposed work programme for future exploration should be ready by October 2012," Impact said. 

Dr Ross Wanless, head of Birdlife SA’s seabird conservation division, said exploration itself was unlikely to have a meaningful impact on birdlife, assuming it was done responsibly and there were no oil leaks.

"What is concerning is what happens after exploration in terms of infrastructure and ship traffic in the area. That is of massive concern to birdlife. The area is very important for fish stocks and seems to be an important foraging area for penguins and Cape Gannets, both of which are threatened with extinction. Penguins are also at massive risk from oiling. We are however in favour of working with industry to find responsible approaches to dealing with exploitable resources," Wanless said.

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Impact was proposing a three-year exploration programme, which would be conducted in a phased approach. Environmental Resources Management (ERM) has been appointed to conduct the process to prepare the environmental management programme (EMP). Preliminary assessments have indicated that noise activities and the presence of vessels could affect fish behaviour and catches by the fishing industry, as well as marine recreational and tourism activities.

A background information document on the programme is available at To register as an interested and affected party, contact ERM Project Manager Claire Alborough before 21 January 2013. The EMP will be released for a 30-day comment period once completed.

Impact Africa holds three technical cooperation permits covering 65 000 km2 on the east coast of South Africa. These included the West Bredasdorp, Tugela North (Durban) and Transkei/Algoa.