On 15 October 2013, the Minister of Mineral Resources, in terms of section 107(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002, published the Proposed Technical Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation for public comment. Interested parties had 30 days to submit comments in respect of the regulations.
According to reports that surfaced on Thursday, 28 August 2014, the Department of Mineral Resources ("DMR") will further consult interested and affected parties beginning next month before finalising the regulations. Once the regulations are finalised, the DMR is likely to begin processing and issuing the relevant rights. It is however, unclear whether the final regulations set to be published in September will materially differ from those published in October 2013. Also unclear is the period the whole process will take before the regulations are finalised.
It is important for interested parties to familiarise themselves with the contents of the final regulations when published, as such regulations are likely to determine the way petroleum exploration and exploitation is to be regulated in South Africa going forward, particularly hydraulic fracturing.