The approval comes after the government authority rejected appeals by lobby groups and individuals challenging further exploration for offshore oil and gas.
The most recent in a string of appeals was the effort to stop TotalEnergies from drilling in Blocks 5/6/7 offshore Cape Town.
The environmental authorisation given to the French oil and gas company by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in April was challenged on a number of grounds, including marine noise, oil spills, climate change, and inadequate public consultation.
Environmental activist groups aimed to persuade Environment Minister Barbara Creecy to revoke the authorisation.
However, Creecy, as the appellate authority, dismissed their concerns, the news agency reported citing the ruling.
How well do you really know your competitors?
Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.
Your download email will arrive shortly
Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample
We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below formBy GlobalData
“I am therefore satisfied that the impacts of noise and light have been adequately assessed and mitigated to ensure low impacts on the receiving environment. As such this ground of appeal is dismissed,” Creecy was quoted as saying.
Climate Justice Charter Movement, one of the appellants, described Creecy’s judgement as “disappointing but unsurprising.”
“The decision by the minister will be challenged, it is irrational and ignores climate science,” it said in a statement.
Requests for comments from TotalEnergies were not immediately answered.
In 2019 and 2020, TotalEnergies found two sizable gas reserves off the coast of South Africa.
The company plans to explore the area, which is around 10,000km² in size and is in between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.
It is about 60km from the coast at its closest point and about 170km away at its furthest point, with ocean depths ranging from 700 metres to 3,200 metres.
As the operator, TotalEnergies owns a 40% stake in the block. Its partners, Shell and PetroSA hold the remaining 40% and 20% stake, respectively.
The companies aim to drill up to five exploration wells in the block.
The first well is expected to be drilled early next year, according to a source at the upstream petroleum regulator.
In June this year, five groups of activists took TotalEnergies to court over its operations in East Africa.