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Will South Africa Unlock its Shale Gas Resources?

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The South African government has been showing positive signs towards shale gas developments. In October last year Susan Shabangu said “Not only does the potential of shale gas explorations and exploitation provide an opportunity for us to begin production of our own fuel, but it also marks the beginning of the reindustrialization of the South African economy”.

Therefore, in light of recent talks to develop the shale industry in the country, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is producing a report to understand key challenges and opportunities of shale exploration in the Karoo.

Project co-leader Prof Maarten de Wit said “We want to do this research from a completely neutral standpoint, without taking any money from energy companies.

“The Karoo is one of the few major basins in the world where you can still develop a natural baseline. All the other major basins in the world, in the United States, Europe and China, have been drilled for oil and/or gas and suffered severe distortions of their natural plays.

Mr de Wit believes shale gas production in the Karoo may start in 2008. “This gives us a near five year window of opportunity to gain new knowledge of the underground water and other natural systems in the Karoo, and use it to establish a forensic baseline that will stand in a court of law. Without such a baseline, any contamination or destruction of groundwater and eco-systems or induced earthquakes related to fracking and the mining of gas cannot be tested accurately or proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

South Africa has one of the world’s biggest technically recoverable shale gas resources. According to the EIA, its shale resources are estimated to be 390 trillion cubic feet. Click here to read ‘10 Key Facts about Shale Gas in South Africa‘.

Click here to watch the video ‘Shell: Exploring Shale Gas in the Karoo Basin‘ to know more about shale resources in the vast Karoo region.

Will South Africa unlock its shale gas resources? Let me know your thoughts below.

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