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Map of the Orange Basin offshore area

The exploration area covers just over 37,000 square kilometres and is located approximately 150 kilometres to 350 kilometres offshore in water depths between 500 meters and 3,500 meters. The block’s southern edge is approximately in line with the town of Saldahna and the northern edge just south of Kleinzee. It borders Namibian waters at its northern extent. So far, there has been limited exploration activity in the area.

In our exploration work programme, we have committed ourselves to conducting seismic work in the block allocated to us within the first three years of the license. A desk-top evaluation programme to better assess the geology of the area will be conducted in advance of the seismic study.

The large, under-explored basin has evidence of source rocks with the potential for significant oil and gas discoveries. The deep-water portion, including the Block awarded to Shell, is as yet largely unexplored and it may be some years before the real potential is established. However, any commercial discoveries could be to the benefit of both the country and its people.

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Shell has asked independent consultants to undertake studies to identify potential environmental, social and health impacts associated with the planned exploration programmes in South Africa.
To investigate subsea geological formations, seismic surveys are carried out. These involve the directing of sound towards the seabed and the returned signals allow for interpretation of subsea geological formations.
Exploration drilling may be undertaken to determine whether subsea geological structures, identified by seismic surveying, contain oil or gas.