• To do list

    Keep separate lists to ensure your to-dos don't get cluttered and gain stress-free productivity, Ian Mann.

  • Clueless leaders

    Zim's leaders are clueless about managing the economy or leading the nation, says Malcom Sharara.

  • Govt is out of touch

    Journalists seems to know more than those paid to govern us, says Mandi Smallhorne.

All data is delayed
See More

Shell pledges R1.4bn for Karoo exploration

Sep 01 2011 15:30
Cape Town - Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday it hoped to invest $200m (about R1.4bn) to explore for shale gas in the Karoo - plans facing tough opposition from farmers and greens worried about the environmental impact.

Ecological concerns led the government to place a moratorium on oil and gas exploration licences in the region, where the controversial shale extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" might be deployed.

“If exploration efforts prove that shale contains commercially producible gas volumes, then South Africa could see production from this source within a decade,” Jan Willem Eggink, general manager upstream ventures for Shell’s South African unit, told a news conference.

Petrochemical group Sasol, Anglo American and Falcon Oil and Gas are among those eyeing shale gas in the region, with Shell leading the pack with exploration rights pending to 90 000km².

Farmers and conservationists are worried about the possible impact of fracking, in which drillers blast millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock to create cracks for the gas and oil to escape.

The sparsely-populated Karoo is renowned for its rugged scenery and is home to rare species such as the mountain zebra and riverine rabbit, putting it high on the radar screen of conservationists.

Those in favour of fracking in the Karoo say the discovery of gas would help South Africa plug a chronic power shortage and reduce dependence on harmful coal-fired power stations. About 90% of the nation’s electricity is supplied by coal.

“By drawing on potential abundant domestic gas supplies, you can meet rising energy demand while maintaining energy security,” Eggink said.

He said he believed South Africa could well have at least half of an estimated 13.73 trillion m³ of trapped shale gas, enough to be commercially viable and allow the country to become energy self-sufficient for decades to come.

Eggink said the company would not compete with farmers for scarce water resources and would likely truck in water initially before trying to pipe it by using the brackish water found deep underground.

Eggink said Shell would also consider paying landowners for access to their land, although no compensation policy has been finalised yet.
shell  |  fracking  |  shale gas



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:


Debt is one of the biggest financial issues facing South Africans today. Find out how you can avoid and manage your debt with Fin24 and Debt Rescue.

Money Clinic

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

Voting Booth

Labour’s call for a cap on salary of high earners is?

Previous results · Suggest a vote