South African state-owned exploration and production firm Soekor has been given approval to develop the offshore Sable oilfield. Commercial production from Sable, 95 km off the southern Cape coast, was scheduled to start in 2003 at a rate of around 40,000bpd. Soekor holds a 60 % working interest in the field with US Pioneer Natural Resources holding 35% and Texas-based Petroleum Ltd the remaining 5%. “This is the first time that international partners, namely Pioneer and Petroleum Ltd, have invested in the actual production of oil in South Africa,” said Soekor acting chief executive Kevin Stallbom. Sable will be developed with six subsea wells tied back to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel with a capacity of 60,000 bpd.