Oil major Total has reportedly decided to delay application for drilling work at the block 11B/12B offshore South Africa.

Reuters reported the development citing a letter from SLR, the consultancy that is undertaking the environmental and social assessment for the project.

In its letter, the consultancy said: “This letter serves to notify you that TOTAL E & P South Africa BV has decided to postpone their application for the additional drilling and associated activities in Block 11B/12B at this time.

“Thus, the application for Environmental Authorisation of the additional drilling and associated activities in Block 11B/12B has been withdrawn.”

The development is seen as a setback to South Africa, which is considering options to minimise its dependence on coal to produce power.

South Africa, which is claimed to be one of the biggest CO₂ emitters in the world, produces more than 80% of its total power from coal-fired plants.

Following the discovery of two gas fields in block 11B/12B by Total, the South African government suggested using gas from these fields as feedstock at the PetroSA GTL refinery at Mossel Bay.

The two gas fields, Brulpadda and Luiperd, located about 175km off the southern coast were discovered by the company in 2019 and 2020.

The PetroSA GTL refinery is capable of producing 45,000 barrels per day of crude oil equivalent.

It is equipped to convert natural, methane-rich gas into ultra-clean, low-sulphur, low-aromatic synthetic fuels and high-value products.