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Shell is seeking government permission and authorities for a drilling project off the western shores of South Africa.

The company’s proposal, as shown in a draft scoping report from environmental consultancy SLR on Tuesday, involves the drilling of up to five wells in the region.

Operator Shell wants to drill exploration and appraisal wells as oil companies shift their focus south of Namibia, where a string of discoveries in its prolific Orange Basin holds the potential for more finds.

The Orange Basin extends southward into South African waters and has also attracted the interest of rival TotalEnergies.

Notably, Shell Offshore Upstream South Africa B.V. and its joint venture partners need environmental authorisation from the government before they can operate in the Northern Cape Ultra Deep Block (NCUD) in the Orange Basin, in which water depths range between 2,500 and 3,200 meters.

Shell has faced challenges against its plan to conduct seismic testing for oil and gas along South Africa’s Wild Coast from environmental and human rights organisations.

Meanwhile, on June 3, the South African appeals court suspended a previous ruling that halted Shell’s offshore exploration on the Wild Coast, giving oil companies another opportunity for public consultation.

The court dismissed the appeal but acknowledged the exploration right and mandated a further public participation process to address concerns from environmental groups and coastal communities about the harm of seismic surveys to marine life.

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