Cape Town - South Africa has lifted a moratorium on shale
gas exploration in the semi-arid Karoo region, where the extraction technique
of “fracking” might be used to tap into some of the world’s largest stocks of
the energy source
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said on Friday
the cabinet has decided to lift a moratorium imposed in April of last year.
“Cabinet endorsed a recommendation of the report on the
lifting of the afore-stated moratorium,” Chabane told reporters.
According to an initial study commissioned by the US energy
information administration, South Africa has 485 trillion cubic feet of
technically recoverable shale gas resources, most of which are located in the
vast Karoo Basin.
The amount is the fifth largest of 32 countries included in
the study and is pitched as a long-term solution for the energy problems of
Africa’s largest economy.
The area is home to gas reserves now being investigated by
energy company Royal Dutch Shell and petrochemical group Sasol [JSE:SOL].
South Africa last year imposed a fracking
moratorium on oil and gas exploration licences in the semi-arid region to gain
time to examine the concerns of environmentalists who say the process would
ruin the area and to study the potential gains
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