Client: Rhino Oil & Gas Exploration South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Rhino: Exploration Right Application for Petroleum Products on Various Farms in Northern Kwazulu-Natal (12/3/317 ER)

Rhino Oil & Gas lodged an application for an Exploration Right to explore for petroleum products (including oil, gas, condensate, coal bed methane, helium and biogenic gas) with PASA in terms of Section 79 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (No. 28 of 2002) (MPRDA), as amended.  PASA accepted the ER application in 1 September 2015 (Ref: 12/3/317 ER). Rhino Oil & Gas subsequently made an application to PASA for environmental authorisation of the exploration activities as required in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (107 of 1998) (NEMA). The ER application area (reduced in extent during the EIA process) covers an area of ~ 870 000 ha on various farms in Northern Kwazulu-Natal. 

The purpose of exploration is to identify the existence of any commercially viable reserves of oil and / or gas. Exploration is a technically complex and iterative process consisting of a number of stages typically termed i) early-phase exploration, ii) appraisal and iii) well drilling. Data from each stage improves the knowledge and understanding of the resource. This information informs the following stages, which are only undertaken if results are positive. Exploration can require a period of up to 10 years to inform a decision on a production right application.

In the current application Rhino Oil & Gas is proposing, and has only sought authorisation for, remote exploration techniques (including analysis of existing data and an aerial full tensor gradiometry gravity survey). Thus no wells, permeability testing, pressure testing or hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) are proposed as part of the current three-year exploration programme. Should Rhino Oil & Gas propose to conduct other exploration activities in future this would need to be informed by a further application to PASA and a separate environmental assessment and authorisation process.

SLR Consulting (Pty) Ltd managed a Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in terms of the EIA Regulations 2014 (GNR 982, 8 December 2014). The Environmental Impact Assessment Report was submitted to PASA on 19 May 2017 for decision making purposes.


The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has granted environmental authorisation to Rhino Oil & Gas in terms of Regulation 24 of the EIA Regulations, 2014 for the exploration activities as detailed. The DMR’s decision is dated 21 September 2017. A decision regarding the grant of an Exploration Right application in terms of section 79 of the MPRDA is still pending. 


A copy of the environmental authorisation and reasons for the decision to grant is available for download below. All interested and affected parties are advised that an appeal may be lodged against the environmental authorisation decision in terms of the National Appeals Regulations, 2014 (as amended). Should you wish to appeal the decision or any aspect thereof, you must submit an appeal using the prescribed form and in accordance with Chapter 2 of the National Appeals Regulations, 2014, within twenty (20) days from the date of the notification. Your appeal must be submitted to the Minister of Environmental Affairs, with copies sent to the DMR and PASA.


Environmental Authorisation

Environmental Authorisation - Appendices

Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Management Programme Report

Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Management Programme Report - Figures

Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Management Programme Report - Appendices