Shell reviewing ASA ruling on fracking ads

2011-07-07 14:41

Cape Town - Cape Town - Oil company Shell is considering its options after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against it over print adverts on fracking placed in April.

The ASA dismissed four of the nine complaints, upheld four and did not make a decision on one complaint as the nature of it was such that it fell outside of its mandate.

The company is now reviewing the grounds of the ruling concerning the other four complaints and reserves its right to submit a response that addresses in more depth the complaints that have not been dismissed.

"We are disappointed by the ruling. The purpose of the advert was to provide information direct to the public to enable them to properly assess the nature of the proposed shale gas exploration in the Karoo, as well as the accompanying technology of hydraulic fracturing," said Shell SA country chair Bonang Mohale.

The environmental group Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) brought the complaint against Shell over the company's proposed plans to engage in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Karoo to extract shale gas.

The TKAG has vowed to stop all proposals to do fracking in the Karoo.


"Shell isn't the only applicant, there are many mining companies greedily eyeing the Karoo. We would like to stop this technology in its entirety in South Africa," the TKAG's Jonathan Deal told News24.

In the organisation's Critical Review report, led by Dr Luke Haveman, there are concerns about the use of water in the fracking process, particularly in the arid region of the Karoo.

Shell though, said that the advert was intended to make the public aware of the company's understanding.

"The advert was a technical statement of our opinions and understanding of the implications of shale gas exploration in South Africa. The advert was intended to bring to the public’s attention, in an open and transparent manner, Shell’s commitments and information that are already in the public domain," Mohale said.

The process has been touted as a job creator.

Professor Phillip Lloyd of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology said that would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and not impact the ground water negatively in the region.

But his view was strongly condemned by environmental activists.

Renewable energy

"There are studies that have been done that confirm that the life cycle impact of fracking are potentially greater than that of coal," Muna Lakhani, Cape Town branch co-ordinator for Earthlife Africa told News24.

Fracking uses several chemicals to fracture the rock, and the process has been placed under moratorium in France and there are ongoing cases in the US.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in a statement that shale gas in SA was unnecessary because the country should instead focus on renewable energy projects.

Shell insisted that the process was complex and that it acted in an open and transparent manner when placing the adverts which first appeared on April 17 2011 in the Sunday Times.

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  • - 2011-07-07 14:49

    Whats wrong with these activists? Dont they miss the days when a liter of petrol was R4, the shale gas will make SA not to depend on crude oil anymore.

      halicon - 2011-07-07 15:25

      currently sasol can turn coal into oil. i think it is the ONLY company in the world that can do this... have you seen this affect our petrol price? do you think corporates are going to hand down savings to the consumer? they are simply going to fatten their bottom line at the cost of environment.

      Robbie - 2011-07-07 15:31

      We live in a water scarce country and it is even scarcer in the karoo... simple logical deduction is that fracking will deplete and pollute what little water there is. Now maybe you will understand why we are against Shell and Sasol for that matter! Yes Sasol also wants to tap into the oil shales of the Karoo formation. Do a bit of research...

      SuperCal - 2011-07-07 16:04

      we will never see any advantages of extra supply in our price. they have seen that we can handle $100 a barrel oil. They will never give it back to us.

      Zion - 2011-07-10 14:08

      Robbie, just as a matter of interest can you give us an expanded version of your posting re the water in the karroo. Every single commentator has his own ideas and mainly fallacious yet they crow their knowledge on the Karro. The most of what many people know about the karroo is what they see outide their car windows on the N1. The coal mines in Mpumalange also fall in the Karroo geological systems yet there is ample water there. I worked those coal mines. Much of the problems with fracking is the commentators hear a story and get onto the bandwagon simply because they like the story but care less about its validity. It would be a bonus if anybody can come up with an accredited and validated paper on the water in the karroo sequences. It is easier throwing a fast one and hope it finds a target.

      Rinus Eckard - 2011-10-07 16:17

      You really think South Africans are going to get the benefit of this energy? Think again, and this time do it slowly. Shell is a British company, in existence for one reason and out to get 1 thing - which, coincidentally, is the same - money. If we want to get that energy for our benefit, it should be a government entity, with laws that prohibit it to export that energy. Problem with that is - our government. Go figure. This fracturing will be allowed. It will be forced through the channels by people getting paid kick-backs... The Karoo is going to be shambles in 10 years' time. Sad, and I dearly hope I'm wrong.

  • The_Hamster - 2011-07-07 16:54

    There is no way any multinational is going to spend billions with the goal of saving the South African Motorist money. If Shell really wanted to show the public how much they understand and how much they care about environmental concerns they only have to say they're not going to start fracking up the Karoo. Nothing less would be acceptable.

  • Marc - 2011-07-10 12:07

    i have been at meetings and talks where mohale has spoken... it does not take much intelligence to see through the spin and lies. shell speaks a load of banong! and i for one find it difficult to believe a greedy polluting corporate (tar sands in canada, nigeria and the list goes on....) who has been complicit in murdering people who have tried to protect their villages and fields from these corporate scum in suits.

  • Arthur - 2012-05-16 13:46

    Shell could care rocks for any impact it has on the environment - it's all about the money, and they'll lie, steal, cheat and bully to get what they want.

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