Leading companies have warned that a bid by the South African government to claim a stake in all new oil and gas developments in the country will destroy the industry.
Parliament’s mineral resources committee has agreed new laws which would give the state a 20% free stake in any new energy project being developed in South Africa.
The ruling would also allow the government to buy further stakes in projects, or output from oil and gas developments, at an ‘agreed price’.
But South Africa’s Offshore Petroleum Association said the move would be disastrous and that operators had not been consulted about the change in law.
“We have not been afforded an opportunity to comment,” said OPASA chairman Sean Lunn.
The group, which represents a number of oil majors including ExxonMobil, Anadarko and Total,
The association added the measures “will have a chilling effect on investment in a high risk and capital-intensive industry such as ours.” .
South Africa is thought to have one of the world’s largest shale gas reserves, along with millions of proven oil reserves offshore. The success of exploration off neighbouring Mozambique has sparked a rush by majors to look for prospects off the South African coast.
The country’s national assembly is scheduled to vote on the new laws later this week.