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L’Afrique du Sud se tourne vers les plans de Searcher Seismic après sa victoire sur Shell



The Amazon Warrior has left South Africa and is heading to Las Palmas, in what is seen as a victory for local protests against Shell's seismic plans.

Shearwater Geo owns the vessel. In October 2021, the company announced it had won a major 3D seismic exploration project in South Africa. The plan was to acquire just over 6,000 square kilometers of data, in a project that would last about four weeks.

However, on December 28, a South African court ordered Shell to suspend its work. A number of local interests and NGOs had challenged the authority under which Shell was working in the area.

Le juge Gerald Bloem a accepté une interdiction provisoire. Shell n’a pas mené les consultations locales requises et l’impact sur la vie marine suscite des inquiétudes, a-t-il déclaré.

Shell defended the investigation but said it would suspend work while it reviewed the order. One representative noted South Africa's heavy dependence on energy imports and how finding local resources would contribute to energy security.


Amazon Warrior's resignation confirms that the judicial order will not be overturned in the near term.


Shell and its partner Impact Africa are now racing against the clock. Both have until May of this year to carry out seismic work. If they do not, they risk losing the license on Algoa and Transkei. The blocks are located in the southern Outeniqua Basin, close to where TotalEnergies drilled its Brulpadda and Luiperd discoveries.

Bloem noted the impending end of the license, but said that was not enough to allow work to continue.

The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has been supportive of Shell's projects in the past. Thus, an extension can be considered.

It remains to be seen whether Shell will have better luck the second time around with its seismic plans.