South African court convicts Shell and orders company to halt seismic survey


A South African court has blocked Shell’s seismic survey along the country’s east coast, giving environmentalists a landslide victory against the oil company.

The survey aimed to examine a 155-mile stretch of coastline in the Eastern Cape Province. The process of seismic blasting involves firing high-powered air cannons every 10 seconds and measuring echoes to detect cavities beneath the seabed.

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High Court Judge Gerald Bloem said Shell initially won the right to explore the waters on the basis of “a substantially flawed consultation process”, the BBC reported.

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“This case is really the culmination of the struggle of communities along the Wild Coast for recognition of their customary land and fishing rights, and for their customary processes to be respected,” said Wilmien Wicomb, a lawyer. at the Legal Resource Center.

Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday it would sell its Permian Basin assets to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion in cash, an exit from the largest US oilfield for the energy major to focus on transitioning to clean energy. (Associated Press)

Wicomb hailed the verdict as “of great significance”.

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Shell’s approval for the project may have resulted from outdated legislation, as it stems from the fact that Shell was given the green light in 2014 just months before the legislation was to change, according to The Guardian.

On Dec. 3, another high court ruled in favor of Shell, but the new ruling argues that Shell lacked the necessary environmental approvals.

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Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said critics of the Shell project wanted to deprive Africa of energy resources, but environmentalists feared the project – which would involve the blasting of parts of the coast – could disrupt the marine life including whales, dolphins and seals.

“Could it be a pure and extreme love for the environment, or a relentless campaign to ensure that Africa and South Africa do not see the flow of investment they need?

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A Shell spokesman told Reuters the company “will respect the court’s decision and have put the investigation on hold while we review the judgement.”

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