Author: Dr. Angelika Hellweger 7 October 2022
With a South African court ruling that Shell’s right to conduct seismic surveys was granted unlawfully, Angelika Hellweger assessed the significance of the case.
In an article published by Energy Voice, she outlines why the ruling can be viewed as a landmark decision.
The court set aside the exploration rights on South Africa’s Wild Coast that were granted to Shell in 2014 and renewed in 2017 and 2021 after flaws were identified in the consultation process involving local communities. In her piece, Angelika emphasises that corporates must pay close attention to local customs and circumstances during the public consultation process, otherwise they may risk huge financial losses.
The case had been filed by individuals and environmental groups who sought to review the decision to grant exploration rights to Shell and Impact Africa that allowed them to conduct seismic surveys in pursuit of oil and gas. The applicants argued that the exploration right was granted unlawfully as there was no consultation with the affected communities and discussions with traditional leaders were insufficient.
The court stated that Shell, Impact Africa and their respective consultants had not conducted investigations to “unleash the identity of the communities” concerned and that consultations with traditional leaders could not be considered adequate.
Angelika’s piece concludes by explaining the main issues that corporates have to consider for a consultation to be viewed as adequate.
You can read Angelika's full article in Energy Voice.
Angelika is a specialist in international, high-level economic crime investigations and large-scale commercial disputes. She has widely-recognised expertise in representing corporates and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and United States.