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Shell's (RDS.A) Seismic Test is Stopped by South African Court

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Royal Dutch Shell plc’s seismic testing for oil and gas along South Africa's eastern coastline has been suspended, pending a final judgement by a South African court.

Environmentalists applauded this move, which they believe will protect marine life from the loud blasting.

Seismic surveys are used to map what is under the ocean's surface. Shockwaves launched from an air pistol — similar to a large speaker — are shot down to the seafloor. The sound echoed tells if there is oil trapped beneath the rock.

Per the High Court Judge Gerald Bloem, permission to explore the seas around the Wild Coast was granted to RDS.A on the basis of a significantly faulty consultation procedure.

The natural beauty and marine life of the 250-kilometer (155-mile) long coastline in the Eastern Cape province is world-famous.

Many marine species, including whales, dolphins and seals will be harmed by the seismic testing, according to campaigners.

Also, local communities represented in the lawsuit claimed that their customary rights to land and fishing had not been honored.

Shell began scanning the 6,000-square-kilometer region in early December 2021 after a previous court ruling allowed it to proceed with its activity. At that time, the court had ruled that those opposed to the survey had failed to offer a sufficient proof of environmental damages.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor claims that the seismic testing is being applied for decades in search of oil and gas. Respecting the court's order, RDS.A suspended its exploration process. In view of the verdict, management asserted that if feasible resources were discovered offshore, it could considerably improve the country's energy security.

There is no specific deadline for determining whether authorization is necessary under the National Environmental Management Act. Shell stated that it already has the required clearance to carry out the survey.

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