Ramatlhodi: State keen to drill for shale gas

Ramatlhodi: State keen to drill for shale gas

2014-07-15 18:02

Cape Town - Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi on Tuesday confirmed the state has a keen interest in drilling for shale gas itself, suggesting it could help to end the historic injustices of natural resource exploration in South Africa.

"We should ensure that, should at some point the state wants to walk into the shale gas arena on its own, it should be possible for the state to do so, side by side with the private sector," Ramatlhodi said ahead of his budget vote speech.

"We are looking at that."

He told Sapa it was, therefore, critical that the state should not over-extend itself in capital terms in agreements with private sector players, who are eager to tap into shale gas reserves in the Karoo believed to be among the biggest in the world.

"We should not overcommit ourselves in terms of capacity, money," he said.

The mineral resources and petroleum development amendment bill, which Ramatlhodi hopes to have returned to parliament by the president, gives the state a 20% stake in new gas and oil exploration and production ventures, with the option to increase that at an agreed price.

Ramatlhodi said shale gas exploration regulations were "drafted and ready", but declined to give a date when they would be made public.

"Now that we have these draft regulations we can commit to a specific date... I would rather put it on as an urgent matter that has to be resolved as quickly as possible."

In his budget speech, he defined shale gas and offshore oil and gas exploration as game changers in the country's resource development history.

"If stewarded properly, (it) has the potential to drive the development of our economy for all our people in a manner contrary to a historic injustice inflicted upon our people by the mining industry."

The industry has said the changes to the mineral resources bill risked having a chilling effect on investors and Ramatlhodi said his motivation for bringing it back to parliament was precisely to create policy certainty.

The minister, who is given wide discretionary powers by the bill, said he did not want industry to feel that too many key factors are enshrined in regulations instead of the legislation itself, and are therefore readily alterable.

It was, therefore, preferable to have the bill sent back to MPs, but failing that he would seek to have a regulatory framework that allayed industry fears.

Asked whether, if the bill returned to the legislature, he would hope to increase the state's free carry percentage, he said: "We will be guided by the following: That the state secures its interest, that we enable investors to be able to invest and with the expectation to make reasonable profits out of their investment.

"The figures can then be discussed around those three principles."

In his speech, Ramatlhodi nodded to concerns stakeholders in mining and upstream petroleum had raised regarding the bill.

He said that was why he set up an inter-ministerial team to hold thorough talks with industry players on either changes to the bill, or if that proved impossible, writing a regulatory framework that would allay unease.

"I am ready for any eventuality. In the event the current bill is assented to in its form, I commit to a rigorous and transparent engagement with stakeholders on draft regulations."

Ramatlhodi signalled that the state was ready to exercise its right to cancel licences if mining houses failed to meet deadlines in the Mining Charter on improving workers' conditions, but added that he did not believe this would prove necessary.

  • Zulu Makhise - 2014-07-15 18:10

    Surely there are better alternatives..

      John Loveland - 2014-07-15 18:39


      Amdyn - 2014-07-15 18:54

      I would be keen if I got a 20% free carry too

      sam.e.scapes - 2014-07-15 20:08

      There are a lot of mining options for gas along our coastline but nobody will touch it as the cut to the government is too high and it would not be worth the investors risk. I read this in the media a year or two back.

  • Davy Botha - 2014-07-15 18:11

    They would sell there souls for money and use the past as a excuse, previous injustice my foot

  • Johnny B Goode - 2014-07-15 18:12

    The anc won't stop until this is just another dump in africa.

  • Dave Leverton - 2014-07-15 18:14

    "If stewarded properly" - spot the problem.

  • Ben S - 2014-07-15 18:15

    And we give our solemn undertaking that there will be no corruption by state officials for what that is worth.

  • Jerry Haldane - 2014-07-15 18:24

    oh my goodness. .. do they have any idea of the environmental impacts this will have, specifically on ground water etc...

  • Adrian Wells - 2014-07-15 18:25

    Csn u feel the corruption on this exploration

  • Dorino Kalamaras - 2014-07-15 18:29

    Fracking hell..... more corruption and bribes..

  • Phelamanga - 2014-07-15 18:30

    What about the present injustices? Nkandla is a symbol of the injustices happening now along with the fact that the provincial governments whose role is to ensure the uplift meant of the rural populations are more intent on being employment agencies for loyal cadres rather than for people who are prepared to work towards the development of the rural areas. The ANC is very quick to blame the past, but are blond to the fact that their deployed have failed in providing the structures that lead to a better life for all. But then, blaming the past for the errors of the present is the ANC's best defence against its own failures and the fact that they are very low in capacity to run a modern sophisticated state.

  • leon.vry - 2014-07-15 18:30

    Does the imbecile have any idea of the dreadful and harmful implications.....the whole world is against it but here .... ????

  • Lynn Hugo - 2014-07-15 18:33

    I doubt the state will worry to much about pollution of the Northern Cape. Its far from JHB and KZN. There is lots of MONEY to be made for the fat cats.

  • Arina Erasmus Kotze - 2014-07-15 18:35

    "...and when all the trees are cut down and the air we breath is no longer clean! And when all the water is contaminated and there's no more food! And when all the animals and people die......only then we will realize we can't eat money!!!!!!!" ......quoted!!! ....frack off the karoo!!!!

  • Carpenter - 2014-07-15 18:41

    You can barely manage your bowel movements, how you gonna manage this?

  • Luaz Xaba Patala - 2014-07-15 18:41

    shale gas drilling or fracture dangers the enviroment, water and being that certain area and put lives of people in risk. health laws are broken through shale gas mining. life is better than money in terms of value. was reseach ever made upon effects nagatively wil we experience as engagement take place

  • Richard Young - 2014-07-15 18:42

    The state is already full of stale gas

  • ferdi.baard.5 - 2014-07-15 18:43

    The Karoo will be a desolate waste land within 5 years. These pricks have no idea what they are getting themselves into. The water that they pump back into the hole once the gas is extracted is toxic sludge. The remaining ground water will be contaminated and unusable. The underground water aquifers of the Karoo are interconnected and run south to north from the Langkloof and Oudshoorn to Kuruman in the north and Loxton area to Graaff Reinett west to east. ALL the farms in the south west of our country will become barren wasteland. Time has come for a revolt, these f@&kers cannot do this. All their voters in that area will be out of work. Injustices of the past my Lilly white ass, they are just doing it to rape and pillage!!!

      Peter William - 2014-07-15 22:01

      Tell us what to do to stop it.

  • rachel.s.peters.7 - 2014-07-15 18:49

    More likely it will enrich certain cadres.

  • Andrew Moore - 2014-07-15 18:52

    what the frack? frack this whole fracked-up idea is sommer fracking idiotic. all this fracking CancER govt can do is frack up everything they touch. leave the karoo as it is. why go and frack for fracking shale gas and frack up nature

  • Andrew Moore - 2014-07-15 18:54

    and lemme guess News24 is gonna remove my fracking comment.

  • Andrew Honiball - 2014-07-15 18:55

    Cry the beloved country. Cry the beloved Karroo. Your time too has come. Thank you ANC. It is a truly good story. I encourage all to have a holiday in the Karroo. It might be your last chance. So, Zuma's nephew, his son, Ramaphosa, and some other MPs are going to get shares in some company that will explore and produce a little bit of shale gas. Watch this space.

  • Prego George - 2014-07-15 18:55

    keen for destroying the country and blame somebody else but to make BEE money deals. Then sell out to some overseas company and still no jobs. Just to build another few Nkandlas. 20% for the state where os the 80% going and who must fix the mess afterwards not the stupid voters. No the tax payers that are discriminated against.

  • Ceba Mlandu - 2014-07-15 18:56

    Shoal gas fracking is the future. Give me a piece of that.

      ingrid.lagrange - 2014-07-15 20:28

      You must be a BEE cadre. Research fracking, research alternatives. No intelligent, environmentally, concerned citizen can possibly support such an ill conceived, harmful source of energy. There are so many alternative, sustainable sources of power. One has to ask the question whether there other motives? I believe there are are. Destroy natural water resources, and enslave the people of this country, further.

      ingrid.lagrange - 2014-07-15 20:28

      You must be a BEE cadre. Research fracking, research alternatives. No intelligent, environmentally, concerned citizen can possibly support such an ill conceived, harmful source of energy. There are so many alternative, sustainable sources of power. One has to ask the question whether there other motives? I believe there are are. Destroy natural water resources, and enslave the people of this country, further.

  • Anton Meiring - 2014-07-15 18:57

    Im keen to drill into your head and find gas!

  • Mart Botha - 2014-07-15 18:59

    This 'Made in China ' deck we have is made up entirely of Jokers !!

  • Azwinaki Alpheus - 2014-07-15 19:00

    This anc leaders the are destroying south africa peace by peace what ever the fight for is for there own interest or family interest so this minister failed to disclose his interest /shares on the mine.

      Rolivhuwa Mulimi Hash Muhashela - 2014-07-16 19:52

      isn't it fair to say that people who continuously vote anc are to blame for all this nonsense?

  • Andre Groenewald - 2014-07-15 19:18

    Laat hulle los. Hulle het al klaar die land opgef nou laat hulle die mooi Karoo op f. Ken julle nog nie H k nie. Waar sal RSA gewees het sonder die witman.

  • clinton.swanepoel.14 - 2014-07-15 19:25

    For what are you happy for you monster destroy our country further.

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2014-07-15 19:54

    Zuma is planning a second nkandla and each of his cronies wants one as well

  • marelize.pinto - 2014-07-15 20:40

    Again, immediate gratification, screw the generations to come. Another African country being used up by the ruling government. Mines going up everywhere, now fracking. They see what fracking does and still are willing to ruin the future for our children. Wish there were more intelligent people in the government, who cares about the future, the land, the land that will one day stop providing.

  • Peter William - 2014-07-15 22:06

    Ferdi Baard tell us what we should do to stop them from drilling. It's too late to sit on our behind, it's time for action.

      ferdi.baard.5 - 2014-07-15 22:47

      Peter, maybe we should take a lesson from the recent mining strike. They pulled together and kicked the country in the nuts. If you google "fracking aftermath" you will get an idea how fatal this technique is for the environment . The Karoo has an incredibly sensitive stomach . The underground water supply is, according to geologists, one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet. Anybody who cares should put some cash away now and be willing to be there when the drills arrive, and protest against and vandalise any attempt to proceed, but we need to be there I our thousands and I am afraid this will be our biggest challenge . This is a huge blow to the future of this beautiful place

  • rowan.torr.9 - 2014-07-15 23:15

    Don't!! Do it.

  • Qxtsa - 2014-07-15 23:19

    I always laugh at the comments.. instead of commenting here.. go protest like normal people do. Saying anything here like talking yourself. Fun but pointless

  • Keith O'Reilly Morison - 2014-07-16 08:40

    Do these guys not watch what's going overseas, how fracking causes, amongst a whole lot of toxic problems, earth quakes! Fracking idiots!

  • antonio.tonin.58 - 2014-07-16 10:40

    The Karoo is saved! A state owned fracking enterprise will be as fracked as all the other state owned enterprises, and drilling will never actually start.

      ferdi.baard.5 - 2014-07-16 10:53

      Antonio, it would be great if you're right. I think that that all they see are dollar signs and they will be so desperate to do it they will cut healthcare and education budgets to get this off the ground. Whether or not they will succeed is another story. I read in a National Geographic magazine that just one liter of crude oil contaminates a million cubic meters of sea water, how many cubic meters of sludge will they will the pump back into just one shaft? Once they start drilling the first shaft, it's over for the Karoo!!

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