A South African judge has ruled as illegal the government’s decision to allow supermajor Shell to shoot seismic off the country’s south coast, a decision that will create concerns in the country’s nascent exploration and production sector.

Anti-fossil fuel campaigners, including Greenpeace, brought a case against the seismic shoot being approved, claiming it went against environmental legislation and that consultations with potentially affected communities had fallen short of what they should be.

The High Court in Makhanda ruled that Shell’s exploration right to conduct seismic surveys off the Wild Coast of South Africa was granted unlawfully and therefore set it aside.