To Curb The Climate Crisis And Protect Coastal Livihoods, Activists Call On The French To Stop TotalEnergies’ Offshore Exploration For Oil And Gas In South Africa

From 3-10 February 2023, The Green Connection and small-scale fishers from the West and East Coasts of South Africa travelled to Paris France – in an effort to make the French people (and other Europeans) aware that South African coastal livelihoods are under threat from the environmental impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration, and so too is the country’s spectacular marine biodiversity.

The trip followed TotalEnergies’ application for a production license to operate two major gas fields (with the equivalent of up to one billion barrels of oil), off the South Africa’s Southern Coast, and also coincided with TotalEnergies’ announcement (on 8 February 2023) of its record profits, mainly from fossil fuels.

Liz McDaid Strategic Lead of The Green Connection states, “The aim of the trip was to urge French government to hold TotalEnergies’ accountable and for the company to move away from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.” After the French company announced its 2022 financial profits of 19 billion Euros, The Green Connection with Bloom raised alarming concerns about multinational companies reaping profits at the cost of people’s livelihoods and the environment. Even after a just energy transition agreement was signed by France and South Africa during COP27, hydrocarbon exploration remains a challenging factor.

The Green Connection, Bloom, small-scale fishers and activists engage with members of parliament in Europe and Paris

“Following various interactions with coastal communities and civil society we decided to raise international awareness about the impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration on coastal livelihoods in South Africa, as well as on our marine species. The ocean is a rich marine ecosystem, and we need to protect that. TEEPSA needs to invest their profits in cleaner energy,” adds Neville van Rooy, Community Outreach Coordinator at The Green Connection.



Members of the South African delegation also made a detour to Brussels Belgium, to also urge the European parliament to stop the French company from exploring oil and gas in South African waters. This event was attended by West Coast small-scale fisher Christian Adams and a number of Goldman Environmental Prize winners – including The Green Connection’s own Liz McDaid.


“It was such a great honour that European parliament heard our concerns about the French company and the threats it poses to fishers’ livelihoods and the environment when exploring oil and gas on our shores. As fishers we appreciate the support system and we will fight tooth and nail to defend our oceans”, says Adams.


Vuyiseka Mani a member of Eastern Cape Environmental Network and a participant of The Green Connection’s Legacy Programme says, “We fail to understand why TEEPSA is pursuing oil and gas exploration in South Africa, yet they are not allowed to explore oil and gas in their own country of birth.” 

Lastly, Ntsindiso Nongcavu a small-scale fisher from Port St John’s and a member of Coastal Links adds that these projects pose a threat to coastal communities. He adds that as people they can’t lose their ancestral land due to connections they have with the ocean.


Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis


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