Govt gives go-ahead for Karoo fracking

2014-03-23 14:00
Fracking rig. (AP file)

Fracking rig. (AP file)

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Cape Town - The South African government has given the green light for shale gas exploration in the Karoo and elsewhere – a move seen by the state as a possible “game changer” for the economy.

According to the Sunday Independent, final regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be published in April, after which the search for shale gas will commence.

Already Royal Dutch Shell PC is on standby for a license to operate in the Karoo. Should this go ahead the company is expected to invest more than R1bn into the operation – a move that will also create hundreds of jobs.

However, should this transpire, Shell will be fracking on behalf of the government as any reserves they might tap into will remain the state’s property, reported the Sunday Independent.

Earlier this month, Shell said that fracking in the Karoo for shale gas may not be financially viable.

Shell’s upstream manager Niall Kramer, said at the time that only once Shell had finished its exploration duties would they be able to tell if fracking is financially sound. He said exploration will provide some insight as to how much shale gas is present in the Karoo and how much of the gas will provide a financial return.

The quantity of shale gas present in the Karoo has been under a large amount of contention. A US report done a few years ago suggested that there was 485 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas present in the Karoo. This amount was later changed to 370tcf. Pasa (Petroleum Agency of South Africa) now suggests that in the Karoo there is only 40tcf of shale gas.
Read more on:    shell  |  energy  |  environment

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