Government to move ahead with shale gas exploration and exploitation - Mantashe

Cape Town - Government intends to fast-track the exploration and exploitation of shale gas, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.

Mantashe tabled the budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, where he explained the development of shale gas as a resource was necessary to transform the country's energy economy.

“The southern Main Karoo Basin is considered the most prospective area for shale gas, with a possible estimation of 205 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas technically recoverable, as reported by Petroleum Agency SA,” he told Parliament.

“We intend to move with speed to fast-track the finalisation of exploration rights applications, so that South Africa can maximise its chances of reaping the benefits from shale gas exploration and exploitation.”

Mantashe will publish a notice in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, for the public to submit comment on the decision. 

During a media briefing following the tabling, Mantashe told journalists that there were “massive” shale deposits. He said people who have problems should raise them, as they need to be heard so that processes can proceed.

In September 2017, Reuters reported that a new study in the Journal of Science by geologists from the University of Johannesburg and three other institutions suggested there were closer to 13 tcf of gas, at the bottom of the range of estimates. Estimates of the available deposits have ranged from around 13 tcf to 390 tcf.

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