environmentalists stand up against a new gas project in South Africa

environmentalists stand up against a new gas project in South Africa

Environmental NGOs launched a campaign in Paris on Monday (October 17th) against a major TotalEnergies gas project planned according to them in an area with dangerous currents off the coast of South Africa and which would threaten a rich marine fauna as well as the artisanal fishery. .

“TotalEnergies is preparing to invest three billion dollars to launch drilling operations in South African deep waters, to the detriment of small-scale fishermen and spectacular biodiversity”say the Bloom association, for the protection of the oceans, and the South African NGO The Green Connection, in a press release.

An international petition

The two NGOs launched an international petition against this project on Monday after TotalEnergies filed a “application for a production license to exploit two large gas fields, which can contain up to one billion barrels of oil equivalent”in the Brulpadda exploration area, 175 km from the coast.

The South African authorities, who rely on gas to get out of their dependence on coal, must decide on obtaining this license after a public inquiry scheduled until January 20, according to the associations.

Deep boreholes

“These are very deep drillings, more than 1,000 meters below the surface, in an area of ​​strong currents: they know that these are complicated waters with a risk of an oil spill”assured Swann Bommier, from Bloom, during a press conference in Paris.

“Total is the first to go this deep, if they get this permit it will be a huge signal for the whole industry” on the possibility of launching drilling in still virgin waters, he added. “It is a spectacular place from the point of view of biodiversity, which is on the migration route of whales and sperm whales” and or “there are also dolphins, leatherback turtles, seals”defended the president of Bloom, Claire Nouvian.

“We, the artisanal fishers of this country, fear that this livelihood will be taken away from us”denounced one of them, in a video broadcast at the conference. “We are saying to our government: ‘stop promoting oil and gas exploration in our oceans’».

Contested projects

“Gas is not a transitional energy, we must say stop to ‘greenwashing'”said environmental MEP Karima Delli, who came to support NGOs with MEP Raphaël Glucksmann and MP François Ruffin (LFI).

Pressure from environmental NGOs is increasing against various TotalEnergies projects as the International Energy Agency (IEA) has come out in 2021 for an immediate halt to all new investment in fossil fuels, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. A megaproject of the French group in Uganda and Tanzania has been attacked by NGOs since 2019 before the French courts.


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