Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe visited Ghana in April to explore opportunities that will further diversify the country's energy supply. These include both oil and gas. According to Bua News, Motlanthe responded to a question in the National Assembly on whether his visit was in pursuit of finding alternative oil resources because of the US-European Union crude oil sanctions on Iran.
At the end of last year, US President Barack Obama signed a bill expanding US sanctions against Iran to cover its central bank and financial sector - a move that allows penalties on foreign banks that settle oil imports with the Iranian central bank.
"These sanctions are particularly stringent with regard to petroleum-related banking transactions," added Motlanthe. South Africa sources about 30 percent of crude oil from Iran.
Recently the department of energy awarded 47 bids for taking part in the country's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme. The programme provides for local content in the provision of alternative energy sources.
The country's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) emphasises broadening electricity supply technologies to include gas, imports, nuclear, biomass, renewables (wind, solar and hydro), in response to both the country's future electricity needs, as well as reduce its CO2 emissions.
On June 11, US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Carter said in a statement that South Africa and six other economies had significantly reduced their crude oil imports from Iran and have been exempted from the sanctions. South Africa together with India; Malaysia; Republic of Korea; Sri Lanka; Turkey and Taiwan had significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.