Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has welcomed the arrival of the oil and gas drill rig - DeepSea Stavanger in Cape Town.
The rig has been commissioned by petroleum giant Total and its partners to drill the Luiperd prospect in Block 11B/12B off the Mossel Bay coast, Western Cape.
"The arrival of the drill rig, following the recent successful Brulpadda discovery, reaffirms confidence in South Africa as an investment destination of choice for the exploration of oil and gas. This is despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies around the world," Mantashe said on Wednesday.
The rig is part of the US$400 million oil and gas exploration drilling campaign by Total, of which R1.5 billion will be spent in South Africa through the hospitality industry; off-shore services and equipment; training and contracting of local companies to support the drilling programme.
Mantashe said the investment will further enable South Africa to diversify its energy mix, as envisioned in the Integrated Resources Plan, by using all the primary energy resources that the country is endowed with, including gas.
"Government will be supporting this project by finalising the Upstream Petroleum Bill which aims to strike a balance between the need to attract investment into this key sector of the economy, and ensuring that oil and gas activities do not happen at the expense of the environment and water resources," Mantashe said.
The duration of the drilling campaign is expected to be between 180 and 300 days (6 and 12 months).