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Uncertainty for oil companies as South African minerals bill heads for parliament

Despite the excitement generated by big gas finds in neighbouring Mozambique, development of South Africa’s upstream sector has again been hampered by uncertainty over proposed changes to legislation. Oil companies’ concerns focus on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which, according to the government, seeks to improve the existing 2002 Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) by “removing ambiguities, streamlining administrative processes and enhancing the regulatory system”. However, some industry figures have criticised the proposed changes – chiefly aimed at the mining sector – as threatening investment in a sector which has yet to establish large-scale commercial reserves of hydrocarbons (AE 249/17).

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