Australian junior, Challenger Energy, intends to build and reinforce key relationships in South Africa with Bundu Gas and Oil Exploration, in which it has a 5% minority shareholding. This is expected to raise the profile with the governments of both South Africa and Australia, Challenger said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bundu continues to support the ongoing assessment of its application for an exploration right located around Cranemere in the Southern Karoo Basin as well as its ongoing dialogue with the regulator, Petroleum Agency SA (PASA), and its involvement in consultation regarding proposed amendments to key legislation via the industry association, Onshore Petroleum Association of South Africa (ONPASA).

It is anticipated that the Department of Mineral Resources will respond to consultation feedback regarding the draft Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill ahead of Parliament deliberation. The Mineral Resources Minister announced on 10 October that Cabinet had approved the gazetting of Technical Regulations on Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation.

This announcement represents a key milestone in Government progress towards the award of exploration rights for shale gas exploration in South Africa. Bundu engaged in industry consultation via ONPASA, and looks forward to the publication of the Technical Regulations Media coverage continues to highlight the South African Government’s desire to progress with exploration, with positive comments attributed to President Zuma.

The ANC’s election manifesto, released post the reporting period, states “The pace of oil and gas exploration – including shale gas exploration – by the state and other players in the industry will be intensified as part of the country’s effort to ensure national self- sufficiency an d energy security while promoting environmental sustainability.”

South Africa’s national power utility, Eskom, reportedly declared an electricity supply emergency in November, constricting key industrial customers. The industry anticipates that exploration rights may be awarded ahead of the upcoming general election. The company continues to progress discussions on a potential farm-in with interested parties.