• IS provokes sea-change

    It has been a grave mistake to defy both Russia and France, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Nene's SAA nemesis

    No political figure seems to have the guts to speak out against Dudu Myeni, says Solly Moeng.

  • The mp3 revolution

    Ian Mann takes a look at the war between digital music and the compact disc.

All data is delayed
See More

Shell's fracking ads under fire

Jun 01 2011 15:28
Johannesburg - The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating whether Royal-Dutch Shell advertisements about hydraulic fracturing are misleading and untruthful, the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) said on Wednesday.

Shell ran the full-page advertisements in national weekly newspapers and distributed flyers at its service stations, TKAG national coordinator Jonathan Deal said.

This came about after the cabinet declared a moratorium on all applications for licences to conduct hydraulic fracturing in the exploration of shale gas reserves in the Karoo.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves pumping a high pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the shale bed to break apart underground shale rock and extract the gas.

In a debate with Deal in Cape Town, Shell SA Energy Limited chairperson and vice-president Bonang Mohale said there had never been "a single case of groundwater contamination resulting from fracturing".

"This is clearly not the truth," Deal said.

He said Shell claimed on its website that the "fluids injected into the rock consist of more than 99% water and sand, with a small amount of additives similar to those found in household products".

In its advertisement, Shell said: "We also commit to disclosing fracturing fluids at each drilling location."

However, in the public debate, Shell would not reveal what those chemicals were, Deal said.

"The violations of environmental regulations by Shell, the self-proclaimed market leader in hydraulic fracturing, are a matter of fact," he said.

"No reasonable person can possibly argue that hydraulic fracturing is safe and poses no risk to the environment.

"Shell has been economical with the truth. South Africa has been misled."

Shell was not immediately available for comment.

Proposals have been made by Shell, Falcon Oil and Bundu Oil and Gas to explore shale gas deposits in the Karoo.

However, after pressure from environmentalists, farmers, scientists and citizens, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu placed a freeze on applications for rights to explore for shale gas until her department has formulated a policy.

Many argued that fracking would impact negatively on ground water and surface water resources in the Karoo.

Last month, French legislators voted to ban fracking and while a study published in the United States found no sign that fracking chemicals were polluting the water supply, it found evidence that gas leaked from shale wells into drinking water.
shell  |  asa  |  karoo  |  fracking


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Marketing is a big concern in SA's small business community, followed by a lack of confidence and partnering with the wrong people, according to a survey.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

The 25 basis points interest rate increase is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote