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In South Africa, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) together with the Offshore Petroleum Association of South Africa (Opasa), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a recently launched research and exploration forum.

Oil and gas: focus sector

The South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum (Samref), confirms that the B3 element of Operation Phakisa, which focuses on the use of offshore oil and gas exploration to further support additional research, has been initiated, Engineering News reported.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said: “Business and government need to work together to increase South Africa’s gross expenditure on research and development from the current 0.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 1.5% by 2019.”

The minister added: “While the target is ambitious, we are committed to achieving it.”

She highlighted the country’s vibrant coastal zone, saying that: “It plays a major role in regulating our climate, has tremendous natural biodiversity and supports numerous communities through fishing, tourism and mining.”

Encouraging private sector investment

Opasa chairperson Sean Lunn said that the public and private sectors could contribute to the development of the country’s maritime governance, marine protection and infrastructure, Engineering News reported.

NRF Knowledge Fields Development executive director Dr Andrew Kaniki said: “This is an opportunity for the public and private sectors in South African marine research to work together and use the resources generated by offshore oil and gas exploration.”

“We, as the NRF, are pleased to be the managing agency of this great initiative.”