Total's diagram showing the location of the discovery.

Durban - Environmental rights' group Greenpeace said on Friday that the discovery of more fossil fuels off the coast of South Africa was not a cause for celebration. 

Greenpeace made the statement following Total South Africa announcing on Thursday that it had made a significant gas condensate discovery on the Brulpadda prospects in the Outeniqua Basin, 175 kilometres off the southern coast of South Africa. 

Said Greenpeace Africa’s senior climate and energy campaign manager, Melita Steele: “Greenpeace Africa strongly condemns Total’s reckless oil exploration off the coast of South Africa. Discovering yet more oil and gas is not something to celebrate when burning fossil fuels is driving potentially catastrophic climate change. This is essentially oil that we cannot afford to burn in the face of extreme weather conditions and recurrent droughts.
Steele said deep sea drilling was risky as the possibility of an oil spill "always existed". The environmental impacts of deep sea drilling for oil and gas could not be ignored and had little benefit of job creation for South Africans, said Steele. 

"It is reckless of the South African government to allow oil and gas exploration to go ahead, and unfortunate that this was lauded as a victory at the State of the Nation Address last night," she said.

"According to NASA, 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and it is clear that if we are serious about stopping the worst impacts of climate change, then some fossil fuels must remain in the ground. This country is blessed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world; it’s time to back renewable energy and stop the reckless and dangerous dash for fossil fuels.”

Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has hailed Total's discovery as a "major boost" for South Africa's ailing economy. 

African News Agency (ANA)