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Home » Shell Wants to Search for Fossil Fuels Off South Africa. What’s the Latest in the Saga?

Shell Wants to Search for Fossil Fuels Off South Africa. What’s the Latest in the Saga?

Shell Wants to Search for Fossil Fuels Off South Africa. What's the Latest in the Saga?

South Africans and environmentalists are protesting the planned seismic survey.

Petrol and oil heavyweight Shell has come under fire for its plan to conduct an exploration for fossil fuels on South Africa’s Wild Coast, with activists and advocates highlighting the risk of damage to the local environment and its wildlife.

Towards the end of 2021, a petition was put together by the Oceans Not Oil coalition — individuals and organisations who've come together to stand against South Africa’s continued fossil fuel dependence — and initially sent to the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment. The petition, along with a letter from concerned citizens, was then addressed to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe and called for his approval of the seismic survey to be withdrawn. The petition garnered nearly 400,000 signatures by Dec. 5, 2021.

Environmentalists, marine activists, and the general public have held numerous protests (more than 60 as of January 2022) along the streets and beaches of South Africa, including in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Plettenberg Bay — where the survey is set to be conducted.

They are concerned about further damage that fossil fuels will cause to the natural environment, the noise pollution that will be created, marine life that will be affected — which includes endangered species — and the livelihoods of already disadvantaged communities.

3 Key Facts About Shell’s Planned Exploration

- Shell’s seismic survey involves loud underwater explosions, reaching 220 decibels, which marine life will be sensitive to.

- The exploration has the potential to result in negative consequences for locals and businesses who depend on eco-tourism and fishing.

- Should the planned exploration be successful, it will open the door to continued use of fossil fuels for energy.


South Africans have been fighting Shell's plans for a seismic survey off the country's Wild Coast. Here's what you should know.
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