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Add oil to South Africa's impressive resource wealth.

A 13-year search for offshore oil has been fruitful, and a recent strike about 60 miles at sea in the Indian Ocean has made Pretoria even more optimistic that it will become an oil-producing nation. The latest well would yield about 900 barrels per day. The state oil company says a yield of 20,000 barrels per day is necessary for commercial production. But it says there is ''reasonable optimism'' that a combination of wells could yield the necessary amount.

Oil would put South Africa in a very strong energy position. It has large coal reserves, already boasts a highly successful synfuels industry, and will begin producing nuclear power next year.m

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