The Green Connection Concerned That AZINAM’S Rig May Start Drilling Before The Oil Spill Contingency Plan Is Available To The Public

Following a meeting with Petroleum Agency SA (PASA) on Thursday 29 September 2022, The Green Connection says it anticipates that it will receive the project-specific oil spill contingency plan (OSCP) by Wednesday 5 October 2022. The eco-justice organisation says, “In our view, such a plan should be in the hands of all interested and affected persons, before the drilling starts.”

The Green Connection had previously written to Azinam/Eco Atlantic to request a copy of the OSCP. Azinam/Eco-Atlantic’s lawyers then advised that the organisation could get the OSCP but only on condition that it agrees not share it with anyone, which The Green Connection refused, since this is information that it believes should be in the public arena.

The Green Connection’s Strategic Lead Liziwe McDaid says, “In our meeting, it seemed that PASA recognises the need for a publicly available version of the OSCP. With the Island Innovator setting up to drill in the next days, we hope to receive a well thought-out, clear, and comprehensive plan, which is not unnecessarily redacted.”

The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy says that a projectspecific OSCP, in respect of Azinam’s proposed exploration drilling, is a central mitigation measure that was proposed in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for blow-outs. He says, “The report also acknowledges that the greatest potential risk associated with oil and gas exploration are oil spills and well blowouts, which could have a devastating impact on the oceans and coasts and could directly affect the welfare and livelihoods of coastal communities and small-scale fishers.”

Neville Van Rooy (left) and Walter Steenkamp (right)

Following a 3-day national small-scale fisher workshop – hosted by The Green Connection from 26-28 September in Saldanha Bay – Walter Steenkamp, a veteran small-scale fisher from Port Nolloth and Chairperson of Coastal Links Northern Cape says, “The information from this workshop has been very helpful, particularly since many in our communities are not informed about what is happening or planned for our areas. These kinds of platforms help ensure that people are adequately informed about the projects that are proposed and are able to monitor the implementation of mitigation measures, like Azinam’s plans to drill our ocean without us being aware of the OSCP. It was especially valuable for us to engage with small-scale fishers from all four coastal provinces because there is strength in numbers. Together, we have a better chance of protecting our oceans, which is important not only for coastal communities, but for all South Africans.”

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