SA Court Halts Shell’s Seismic Survey In The Transkei - Stab Mag
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SA Court Halts Shell’s Seismic Survey In The Transkei

Operation paused on the basis of a “substantially flawed consultation process”.

Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Pending approval. 

The South African government has halted Shell’s seismic survey in the Transkei after High Court Judge Gerald Bloem said that Shell’s right to explore the waters near the Wild Coast “was awarded on the basis of a substantially flawed consultation process”. 

Shell has temporarily paused operations to review the judgment. 

For those out of the loop with this issue, but eager to learn more, you can read the following articles to get you up to speed.

The short version is this:

  • Shell want to explore oil and gas deposits with a seismic survey
  • Many communities (fishing, environmental) are not happy about it due to impact of fossil fuels, seismic testing effects on the marine ecosystem
  • So far Shell has had the green light at every stage of approval until now
  • Shell’s operation hangs in the balance of this ruling

The court is now reviewing the integrity of Shell’s environmental consultation process. 

According to the BBC:

Shell had begun surveying the 6,000-sq-km area at the beginning of December after an earlier court judgement said it could go ahead. In that case, the judge said that those who wanted to prevent the survey had not provided enough evidence to show the environmental harm. In Tuesday’s ruling, Justice Bloem said that experts had testified to the damage the testing could cause and Shell had not sufficiently challenged that.

Katherine Robinson from the non-governmental organisation Natural Justice said the ruling was a “huge victory”, but added that the “struggle is not over”.”This decision is just the interdict. We understand that the proceedings will continue,” she was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

In its response, Shell said: “We respect the court’s decision and have paused the survey while we review the judgement.”

Shell had earlier warned that if the case went against it, it might cancel the entire operation, losing the chance to extract millions of dollars worth of oil and gas.

More to come on this.