Challenger Energy (ASX: CEL) says it continues to pursue its application for shale gas exploration rights in South Africa. In its December quarter report, the company reaffirmed there appears to be new-found political momentum in SA, with an important decision made to abandon the long-delayed MPRDA amendment bill and fast-track a new piece of legislation specific to the petroleum industry.
The Department of Mineral Resources begins drafting a new bill specific to the petroleum sector, and which can be fast tracked without being impacted by the historic issues which have affected the MPRDA Amendment Bill.
On 7 August 2018 ASX advised that the Company’s securities would be suspended from quotation, following receipt of an announcement regarding a transaction that could result in a change of its activities. The Company continues to liaise with ASX on this matter.
Update on progress in South Africa
The Company continues to pursue its application for shale gas exploration rights in South Africa. As previously indicated, there appears to be newfound political momentum, with an important decision made to abandon the long delayed MPRDA Amendment Bill1 and fast track a new piece of legislation specific to the petroleum industry. Challenger is advised that on 20 September 2018 the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, withdrew the MPRDA Amendment Bill from parliament with the full support of Cabinet after a decision was taken to separate the legislation applicable to the petroleum sector from that applicable to the mining sector. The Department of Mineral Resources has begun drafting a new bill which can be fast tracked without being impacted by the historic issues which have affected the MPRDA Amendment Bill. Challenger looks forward to the swift promulgation of the new bill.
During November, South African media reported that Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe had announced that he would amend the moratorium currently in place for the oil and gas sector to allow for the processing of applications. Mantashe is reported as saying;
“We can’t delay exploration. We know the sector has been worried. We want to accelerate investment and boost investor confidence in the economy. The amendment will ensure that applications currently in our system are processed and granted.”