Programme Director

Minister Gwede Mantashe

Premier Helen Zille

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

It is a pleasure for me to join you here today for this critical engagement in the very important sector of oil and gas.

 

To have a sustainable and cleaner energy supply, it is important for our country to explore and develop all the energy resources available we have, so that we are able to configure an optimal energy mix. As the Department of Science and Technology, we are committed to ensuring that the oil and gas sector is supported by scientific research. In this connection we have partnered with the Department of Mineral Resources on a number of initiatives to provide the necessary research and development support in various sectors.

 

Recently, our two departments came together to launch the Mandela Mining Precinct located in Johannesburg.  The Mandela Mining Precinct and associated activities represent a pioneering collaboration in mining research, development and innovation, as all stakeholders, including government, mining companies, local mining equipment manufacturers and the research community, acknowledge the need for a coherent, collaborative approach to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector.

 

Similarly, the DST is working very closely with the Department of Mineral Resources in the gas sector, especially on shale gas. As exploration work continues in earnest, the DST, through the Science Action Plan (SAP) will assist with research in order to cover some gaps that were identified in the initial fracking research. The areas of research will include geology, gas resource quantification, shale gas extraction, water, waste, biodiversity, health, social impact and skills development. 

 

The SAP proposes a structured research programme in key areas that will be used to strengthen policymaking, capacitate South Africa, ensure that negative environmental impacts are minimised, and support the emergence of the shale gas industry.  The SAP focuses on the development of new knowledge in the science, governance and engineering fields as it relates to the safe extraction of natural gas from the Karoo basin.  More importantly, the SAP acknowledges work that is being done.

 

The DST seeks to support a sustained research and development programme for the burgeoning offshore oil and gas industry and offshore geoscience in general.  The former will be done while prioritising the use of South African human capital, technological resources and the building of local capacity (skills and competency).

 

We believe that our country has huge potential in the oil and gas industry. By working together as government and the private sector we will not only ensure a secure supply of energy, but also ensure that we begin to deal with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. As the Presidential Investment Summit last month made clear, government is committed to providing the necessary support to the private sector through policies and other means so that we can all grow our economy.

 

I thank you.