The regulation of gas exploration, production and management : a life cycle analysis
Gas exploration and production at sea and on land is a recent phenomenon in South Africa. The reason for the sudden interest in gas exploration and production on land is that it may prove to be a solution to the need for cleaner forms of energy and provides the possibility for South Africa to move away from coal-based energy. In order to achieve this transition while keeping economic development intact, South Africa is in need of a “greener” option. Gas is considered the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel and therefore provides South Africa with this much needed “greener” option. The uncertainty about the nature and extent of the environmental impacts regarding gas exploration and production suggests that an efficient and effective energy and environmental law and policy framework is still needed to regulate onshore and offshore gas exploration and production during all phases of its life cycle. It furthermore requires of the authorities that they establish and enhance environmental protection and sustainability during all gas exploration and production operations in order to ensure that the environmental impacts that may occur during such operations are addressed in a holistic and integrated manner. This study focuses on conventional gas. South Africa’s energy and environmental law and policy framework that regulates gas exploration does not cover the entire life cycle of onshore and offshore gas activities. It is of paramount importance that the current fragmentation in the country’s existing energy and environmental regulatory framework be addressed and that a sufficient environmental governance regime, as envisaged in this study, is established. This will enable the administering agents to actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people, the ecosystems, the essential ecological processes and the biodiversity of South Africa, while promoting the utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis to the benefit of all South Africans, present and future, as pledged in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
- Law