The look and feel of Jeffreys Bay is set to be changed forever with the announcement of a massive oil and gas field just offshore from the small coastal village.
The discovery is part of the Brulpadda field which is situated off the Southern coast of South Africa.
The Brulpadda well off Jeffreys Bay was drilled in approximately 500 meters of water and targeted two objectives in a marine fan sandstone system within combined stratigraphic/structural closure.
Being in such shallow water and close offshore means the oil and gas will be significantly less costly to extract than the Moss Gas construction in Mossel Bay.
The Jeffreys Bay economy will be the prime beneficiary of the discovery with foreign money set to come rolling into the town.
“The Ocean Economy is set for huge growth in Jeffreys Bay and this will create thousands of new jobs in the town and lay the path for future financial success,” said Thabo Talkalot from the Department of Financial Affairs in the Eastern Cape.
“This discovery has come just at the wrong time for unemployment in Jeffreys Bay and will give everyone from Ocean View jobs and even those in Wavecrest will benefit, said Talkalot.
“We are even expecting jobs to be created for those unemployed as far away as Port St Johns and Lusiki Siki as the project will be for all our people in the Eastern Cape.
This will have the straight effect of boosting other industries like construction as tens of thousands of new RDP houses will need to be built to cater for the influx of people from all over, maybe even from as far away as Limpopo and the North West.”
Massive oil rigs will need to be constructed and an industrial park on land near the Kabeljous River has been identified for this industry.
Phase two will probably see a harbour being built anywhere between Kabeljous and Paradise Beach.
“This project will even make the Nuclear Power Station at Thyspunt look like a mountain in a teacup and maybe even an international airport will become necessary as the investors come from Russia and they will need quick access to their investment,” added Talkalot, who has a diploma in Human Relations from the Moscow Technikon.
“I know the Russians and they don’t make vacant promises. They even bought me a house in Wavecrest already as well as a new car to show they mean business.
When questioned whether any public participation had taken place, Talkalot said it wasn’t necessary as Covid had destroyed the tourism industry in Jeffreys Bay and all the guest houses and restaurants were very happy to hear about the project.
“There will be a little bit of a risk of oil spills but that will just create more jobs for our people to pick up oil from the beach so it’s a win win situation as there will be plenty of oil to sell and the loss wont worry the investors.
And there will be beautiful big oils rigs for tourists to marvel at just 1 km from the beach at Supertubes and will actually create more money for the tourism industry in Jeffreys Bay.”
Not everyone is convinced though and the chairperson of the Jeffreys Bay Surf Association, Tonnel Van Tonder said the project was a barrel dream.
“We fought the Russians on the beach at Thyspunt and we won. We will fight the Russians on the beach at Supertubes and we wills win again,” said Van Tonder.
The project is set to start producing oil on 1 April 2023.
Photo: The first oil rigs arriving in Jeffreys Bay. Photo: Joey Nel