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Regulatory overview


What are the primary laws and regulations governing the oil and gas industry in your jurisdiction?

  • The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (28/2002) – this is the framework legislation in terms of which upstream oil and gas rights are granted and controlled, together with prospecting and mining rights. The government has indicated that it will seek to separate the regulation of oil and gas from that of mining by enacting a separate legislative framework in the medium term.
  • The Petroleum Pipelines Act (60/2003) – this provides the regulatory framework for the construction and operation of petroleum pipelines, loading facilities and storage facilities.
  • The Petroleum Products Act (120/1977) – this regulates the downstream sector, establishing the scheme for the licensing of wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers of petroleum products. 
  • The Gas Act (48/2001) – this provides the regulatory framework for the construction and operation of gas transmission, storage, distribution, liquefaction and re-gasification facilities, as well as for trading in gas.
  • The National Environmental Management Act (107/1999) – this was enacted as framework legislation for environmental management in South Africa. It subjects various activities to environmental authorisation, including oil and gas exploration, production and decommissioning. Since November 2015, the act has also imposed additional environmental obligations, such as the furnishing of financial provision for environmental obligations relating to rehabilitation and remediation of areas in which exploration and production activities have been conducted.
  • The International Trade and Administration Act (71/2002) – this regulates the import and export of petroleum and petroleum products to South Africa. A list setting out the commodities that require import and export permits is published by the minister of trade.

What government bodies are charged with regulating the oil and gas industry and what are the extent of their powers?

  • Department of Mineral Resources – the Department of Mineral Resources administers the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, which is the principal statute governing exploration for and production of petroleum resources. It is also the competent authority to issue environmental authorisations under National Environmental Management Act.
  • Department of Energy – the controller of petroleum products within the Department of Energy is the licensing authority under the Petroleum Products Act.
  • Petroleum Agency of South Africa – the Petroleum Agency has been delegated various first-tier functions in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act relating to the acceptance and consideration of applications for petroleum rights and permits. 
  • National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) – NERSA administers and is the competent licensing authority under the Petroleum Pipelines Act and the Gas Act. 

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