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Oil and Gass

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Petroleum, a general term used for oil and natural gas, plays an important role in our community.

Petroleum can occur in the earth in liquid, gas, or solid form.


Oil and gas are known as fossil fuels because they are formed from the decomposition and pressurisation of algae, plankton and other organisms. This process forms hydrocarbons, which are compounds consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon that are powerful combustible fuels.

Individual deposits of oil and gas can also contain other compounds, but it is the hydrocarbons that make them valuable.

Oil and Gas in South Africa

At present, South Africa does not have significant proven oil and gas reserves and produces oil and gas from coal and imported crude oil. The relative under-utilisation of gas is as a result of the abundant coal resources in the country that allowed South Africa to produce petroleum and by-products as well as electricity cheaply from coal. However, declining coal resources and the relative cost of coal-produced electricity and petroleum in financial and environmental terms will see South Africa diversify its energy mix, a process that is already under way.

Should offshore exploration and onshore shale gas exploration prove to be successful, South Africa will have a localised supply of oil and gas to anable and promote the diversification of the country’s energy mix.