Shabangu: No fracking for now

2012-09-11 15:01

Cape Town - There will be no hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo, for now at least.

Only "normal" geological exploration will be allowed, the government's multi-disciplinary task team said in a report, the executive summary of which was released by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu in Cape Town on Tuesday,

"Allow normal exploration [excluding the actual hydraulic fracturing], such as geological field-mapping and other data-gathering activities, e.g. hydrological studies, to proceed under the existing regulatory framework," the document recommends.

The report was endorsed by Cabinet last week. The task team was established by Shabangu in 2011, after she declared a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in April.

The minister told journalists on Tuesday that some drilling would be involved in the exploration process, but not hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.

Core samples

"We're talking about the initial process. Drilling will happen... but what we've agreed at Cabinet is that the actual [hydraulic] fracturing... cannot be done now. Dealing with fracturing will come later."

Drilling was necessary to establish the size and potential of the shale gas reserve, she said.

It is understood that other exploration methods will include seismic reflection, involving explosives and recording devices.

Responding to a question after the briefing, mineral resources director general Thibedi Ramontja confirmed that the exploration drilling was for the purpose of obtaining core samples only, and there would be no fracking at all during this phase.

Shabangu said five companies applied in 2010 to explore for shale gas in the Karoo. She undertook to confirm their names later in the week.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, which has welcomed the lifting of the moratorium on shale gas exploration, is among the five.

According to the report's executive summary, there is an estimated "technically recoverable" 485 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Karoo Basin.

The team said an extended ban on hydraulic fracturing would equal a lost economic opportunity.

"While considering the implications of hydraulic fracturing, it is important to note that the effect of an extended ban, moratorium or stringent regulation can best be described as a reduction of economic opportunity.

"Such measures would delay or prevent an improvement of the understanding of the real extent of the potential resource... and remove the potential economic benefit to severely deprived communities in the Karoo."

Among the document's recommendations is that a monitoring committee be established, ahead of the exploration starting, to "ensure comprehensive and co-ordinated augmentation of the regulatory framework and supervision of operations".

It further calls for the current regulatory framework to be augmented.

"The establishment of the appropriate regulations, controls and co-ordination systems is expected to take six to 12 months."

Once this was done, it recommends authorising hydraulic fracturing "under the strict supervision of the monitoring committee".

In the event of any unacceptable outcomes, fracking should be halted.

  • rhyno.vermaak - 2012-09-11 15:24

    Sorry to hear... Bob.

  • Willie - 2012-09-11 15:26

    @ phumi.ntlabati Please ask the Ogoni people in Nigeria about what Shell did to the enviroment.Ken Sarowiwa was executed by the Abacha regime Shell did give a hood about the livelihood of the Ogoni tribe

      alan.gernet - 2012-09-11 15:38

      So - boycott Shell like I do. One of the world's worst polluters!

      jason.sole.92 - 2012-09-11 20:55

      Alan - They dont give a toss if you boycott them, its a numbers game that preys upon convenience.

  • nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-09-11 15:27

    Boycott Shell. Simple - please people - if you Love the environment and wish to have your say - vote/ express your wishes through your wallets and purses - do NOT give any of your petrol-spend to Shell... Shell is the company that are driving this with government - Shell is the company that has destroyed vast tracts of land and the local communities it supports in the Niger Delta - then the scum hide behind court cases and appeals - that is the modus operandi of Big Oil cockroaches the world over... Any other company - ideally Engen or Sasol here in SA - however - there are plenty of choices - please BOYCOTT the vermin that is Shell!

      alan.gernet - 2012-09-11 15:41

      Sasol is a big polluter as well. But the Environmental history of Shell is unbelievable horrific. Becuase they are the largest oil co. they have al the resources to 'buy' whatever they want to do. They get away with murder. The only way to ever stop these people is to BOYCOTT and EXPOSE. There is only one world, and whatever happens to the Earth, happens to the creatures of the Earth. Human greed knows no limits.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-11 15:44

      For sure. (S)Hell won't see a red cent from me.

      nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-09-11 15:58

      Well said Alan... Shell in Africa and elsewhere, BP in the Gulf and elsewhere, Chevron in South America - they are all scum - who run from their responsibilities and hide behind legal technicalities and court cases when their accidents and spills detroy lands, water resources, communities, and lives... See Shell in the Niger Delta and Chevron in Ecuador for 2 examples... Big Oil is vermin in the human dynamic. They have suppressed R & D into electric cars and the like for decades - in effect - they have held the planet and her living creatures to ransom - through their lackeys in governments - all in the name of more, more, more greed... Fossil fuels are nearing the end of their usefulness - we need to set ourselves a 30 year "time-limit" (there are enough known reserves to last for 30/35 years - without plundering the Arctic and other pristine areas) - where-in we explore and develop clean, renewable, bulk energy supply sources - like solar, wind, geo-thermal, tidal etc - and, eventually - Nuclear Fusion.. :) Shell is the evil behind the lie that is fracking in SA - that is why I implore all South Africans - to please boycott Shell and fill-up with any other company in SA. When the cockroaches at Shell see their profits plummet - that is how we, the people, make our voices heard... The Karoo is NOT for plundering and raping by Big Oil greed!

      alan.gernet - 2012-09-11 16:24

      well said to you SIR!

      mike.mellor1 - 2012-09-11 19:52

      Nick you lost me when you went off-topic with electric cars, "renewables," and the end of fossil fuels. Those are all issues that have f-all to do with fracking the Karoo. Just google "image jonah field wyoming" and you'll see why I want to preserve the Karoo. Plain, simple, finish & klaar.

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-09-11 15:28

    Anyone else notice what a porker Susan Shabangu has become. Too much of the good life hey?

      alan.gernet - 2012-09-11 15:46

      hmmm - so that's where the expression 'well greased palms' comes from!

  • geoff.liddiard - 2012-09-11 15:50

    I guess no-one has come up with a decent "package" payout for the good minister and the ANC elite!!!

  • richard.sloman.5 - 2012-09-11 15:50

    So it wont jhappen for now... Probably because the Govenrment hasnt settled on the price they want their pockets to be lined at... Give it some time...

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-09-11 15:56

    The first step and the foot is in the door.

      jason.sole.92 - 2012-09-11 20:56

      Its game over already, the are merely awaiting the media interest to subside.

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-09-11 16:17

    It seams to me those two guys, in the Klipdrift add, will now have to drink their Klippies without "eish" due to polluted

  • earthbryan - 2012-09-11 17:26

    the track record of government during apartheid and post apartheid at regulating the extractive industry is extremely poor, one just has to look at the Acid Mine Drainage issue and the whole Carolina debarcle to see this - so now we what further investigation into expanding the life of yet another source that is going drive the human race to become fossils one day. But then maybe that's what we deserve with our ignorance to the facts.

  • mark.halbert - 2012-09-11 23:35

    absolutely agree---Boycott Shell and do your best to make this campaign go viral

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