A rig hired by Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas Ltd. and partners, is headed for South African waters, where a slew of legal actions have been launched to block fossil fuel exploration.

Since December, civil society and environmental activists have used legal proceedings to block two seismic surveys, including one commissioned by Shell Plc. The groups cited risks to marine life and criticized the consultation processes.

South Africa’s energy minister has encouraged oil and gas exploration in a country with no significant domestic production. Other government officials have pushed for a faster transition to cleaner energy sources with a planned transition including the use of gas, which along with oil is mostly imported by the country.

Eco Atlantic’s Gazania-1 is targeting a 300 million barrel light oil resource in Block 2B, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) offshore of the Northern Cape, the company said on Friday. The Island Innovator rig is expected to arrive and start the well, depending on weather conditions, by the end of September. It is currently off the coast of Norway, according to Bloomberg ship tracking data.

Other oil explorers were not scared either. Searcher Seismic Ltd., which canceled an earlier search due to a subpoena, is planning a new one.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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