Shell to sign major oil deal in South Africa

The deal is yet to receive approval from the government.

Royal Dutch Shell is planning to acquire an oil-block stake in a second deal in South Africa’s relatively unexplored waters, months after a major discovery by Total SA boosted the country’s hydrocarbon prospects, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Shell has applied to take a stake in a license owned by OK Energy, located in deep waters off South Africa’s west coast, according to Petroleum Agency South Africa.

“We have indeed received an application which is awaiting ministerial approval,” the regulator told Bloomberg.

The Anglo-Dutch major exited its Orange Basin permit two years ago, citing an enduring low-price environment. It also complained at the time of uncertainty over resource laws in South Africa. The country recently pledged to draft separate legislation for oil and gas.

In February, Total discovered an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent east of Anadarko’s blocks, where the oceans meet at the tip of the continent. South Africa’s first deep-water find was described as “catalytic” for the country by South African Oil & Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group.

Besides the block Shell is interested in, OK Energy, a small oil and gas company, also holds a 10 percent stake in another area with Equinor ASA off South Africa’s east coast.

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