Client: Rhino Oil & Gas Exploration South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Application for an Exploration Right for Petroleum and Gas on various farms in the Free State and Kwazulu-Natal (350 ER)
Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration South Africa (Pty) Ltd has lodged an application for an Exploration Right with the Petroleum Agency South Africa (PASA). The application (Ref: 350 ER), submitted in terms of Section 79 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (No. 28 of 2002) (MPRDA), was accepted by PASA. Minerals included in the application are oil, gas, condensate, coal bed methane, helium and biogenic gas.
The Exploration Right application area extends from the Upper Tugela region of KwaZulu-Natal, north past Harrismith to just north of Warden in the Free State. The ER application area extends westward, from Harrismith, past Kestell to Bethlehem. In the north the ER application area extends from Warden past Reitz up to Lindley. The ER application area includes 4 268 farms over an area of approximately 773 259 ha.
In this application Rhino Oil & Gas has only applied for approval to undertake early-phase exploration for oil and gas which might be located within suitable geological strata. The initial exploration work programme would be restricted to desktop data review and the undertaking of an aerial survey. The sole purpose of the work would be to indicate the presence of any possible petroleum resource which could be investigated further. No stimulation, pressure testing, hydraulic fracturing or water abstraction is included in the proposed exploration work.
Under Section 79(4) of the MPRDA a requirement for obtaining an ER is that an applicant must comply with Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA). This requires that applicants obtain an Environmental Authorisation from the competent authority, being the Minister of Mineral Resources (or delegated authority). SLR Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd (“SLR”) has been appointed by Rhino Oil and Gas as the Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) to undertake a Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (S&EIA) process.
SLR has produced an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the 350 ER application. The EIA Report provides an assessment of the impacts of the proposed project and sets out the recommend management measures. The final EIA Report has been submitted to PASA and the Environmental Authorisation has been granted: Ref:12/3/350 (17 February 2021).