A South African judge has ruled that the Shell oil and gas company will not be allowed to conduct seismic surveys of the Wild Coast tourist attraction in the east of the country. This is a victory for environmental groups who fear the negative impact on marine animals.
Earlier this month, a court rejected a petition from environmental groups to halt the project to search for oil and gas resources using seismic surveys. This project will take four to five months, on an area of more than 6000 square meters.
“We respect the court’s ruling and have closed the investigation while we investigate the ruling,” a Shell spokesman said in response. “Studies like these have been conducted for 50 years, with more than 15 years of in-depth research.”
According to Shell, South Africa relies heavily on imports for a large portion of its energy needs. “If viable resources are discovered in the sea, it could make a significant contribution to the country’s energy security,” the spokesperson said.
The South African energy minister defended the Shell project. He accused opponents of obstructing much-needed economic investment in the country after environmentalists and other opponents staged several demonstrations in December.
The Wild Coast is part of the Eastern Cape in South Africa, on the Indian Ocean. The coastline is about 300 km long and includes many nature reserves and marine protected areas.
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