South Africa has very little in the way of proven oil and gas reserves. Exploration for oil and gas started as far back as 1913 and, so far, has proved disappointing. During the 1990s, prospectors and exploration companies, using modern survey techniques, discovered locally-useful but globally-insignificant amounts of oil and gas. Today, while the petro-geology for oil looks modest, the prospects for natural gas, whether conventional gas, shale gas or coal-bed methane (CBM) gas, appear to be more promising.

Oil Discoveries have been Very Small So Far

South Africa has proven crude oil reserves of some 15 million barrels, located in the Orange Basin off the west coast and the Bredasdorp Basin in south coast of Cape Province (source: Council for Geoscience).

To date, even in terms of its proven crude oil reserves, finds by exploration companies have been very small. Today’s crude oil production by state-owned energy company PetroSA amounts to less than 5,000 barrels per day and comes from the Oribi and Oryz fields, which are located in Block 9 off South Africa’s southern coast. In 2014, PetroSA reported a total oil production output of some 160,000 barrels per day, made up largely from imports of 425,000 barrels per day of crude oil in 2014, according to South African Revenue Service data.

Eighth-Largest Shale Gas Reserves in the World

Recent estimates by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) put South Africa’s recoverable offshore gas at 9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), while there is another 9 Tcf of unconventional gas located in the arid Karoo desert and some 1.5 Tcf of CBM gas. South Africa is estimated to have the eighth largest shale gas resources in the world (…) Read the full article >

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