Sasol Petroleum International, an upstream oil and gas subsidiary of Sasol, has received an exploration rights permit from Petroleum Agency South Africa to develop oil and gas fields in the Durban and Zululand basins, offshore of Kwazulu-Natal province.

The permits signed by the company with the PASA were for an initial period of three years. The Durban and Zululand basins are located at the southern end of the Mozambique Channel.

In the Rovuma basin, significant discoveries have recently been made in the north of Mozambique.

Sasol Petroleum International managing director Ebbie Haan said: "This is Sasol’s first operated Exploration Right licence in South Africa for at least a decade."

Sasol plans to implement a robust public consultation programme during the assessment phase and address stakeholders’ concerns.

The company has conducted three separate seismic surveys and drilled three wells offshore of Mozambique, without impacting marine mammals, including the endangered dugong.

Sasol received a Technical Cooperation Permit (TCP 032) in 2011 to study and investigate the potential for hydrocarbons in an 83,000km² area.

Granting of the exploration right (Sasol Petroleum: 100% interest) permit follows the submission of a work programme in September 2012, followed by the conclusion of a Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan in early 2013.

Sasol has already completed 4,000km of a 2D seismic survey in terms of a programme covering an area of 5,950km, with plans to acquire the remaining in 2014, following which analyses and interpretation will take place.

Sasol Petroleum develops and manages the group’s upstream interests in oil and gas exploration and production in Mozambique, South Africa, Canada, Gabon, Papua New Guinea, Botswana, Australia and Nigeria.