Shell loses appeal bid over Wild Coast oil exploration

British oil major Shell and its SA partner, Impact Oil and Gas, have lost their appeal over exploration rights in the Wild Coast, despite investing R1.1bn in exploration.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed the majority of the companies’ and energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s appeal bids on Monday after they challenged a high court order that denied them the right to conduct seismic blasting off SA’s coasts.

Environmental activists and small-scale fishing communities successfully argued that the oil companies had failed to provide proper notice and engage with fishing communities, whose livelihoods would be threatened by the exploration activities in the ocean.

A full bench of the Makhanda high court ruled in 2022 that the oil companies’ exploration right in the Wild Coast — which they shared and was granted by the department of mineral resources & energy — was unlawful.

The SCA confirmed the findings of the high court.

This is a developing story.

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