Durban, South Africa | – South African President Jacob Zuma outlined ambitious plans on Wednesday for oil and gas exploration in coastal waters that he said could contain as much as 9 billion barrels of crude and vast quantities of natural gas.
In a speech to senior South African and Malaysian officials in the port city of Durban, Zuma said the government wanted to drill 30 exploration wells over the next 10 years.
“Over the next 20 years, this could lead to the production of 300,000 barrels of oil and gas per day,” Zuma said.
He did however stress that there was “significant uncertainty” about the extent of South Africa’s hydrocarbon resources.
Although blessed with an abundance of minerals such as gold, platinum and coal, Africa’s most advanced economy has always been a major oil importer.
Zuma said 9 billion barrels of crude was equivalent to 40 years of South African oil consumption, while gas deposit could amount to as much as 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent, equal to 375 years of consumption.