South Africa to accelerate offshore oil, gas exploration

Pretoria, Aug 14 (IANS) South Africa will accelerate offshore oil and gas exploration to reduce dependence on imports, President Jacob Zuma said.

The government will spend 9.2 billion rand ($730 million) to develop the Saldanha Bay on the south-western coast as an oil and gas hub, Xinhua quoted Zuma as saying on Thursday.

Work on some projects has started with the phased gas pipeline routes having been defined, he told a media brief on the implementation of operation Phakisa which was launched last year.

Operation Phakisa is derived from Malaysia’s big fast results methodology which the Asian country is said to have used successfully to achieve rapid economic transformation.

The project also forms part of South Africa’s Nine point plan to re-ignite growth and boost job creation.

Once carried out, the project would produce 370,000 barrels of oil and gas per day, and create up to 130,000 jobs, with an annual contribution of $2.2 billion to the GDP.

Zuma’s words come at a time when the country is gripped by a power shortage that has led to constant load shedding over the past nine months.

The exploration of oil and gas is expected to ease the worsening energy shortage.

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