Shale gas could make S.African energy self-sufficient: Shell

Sep 01, 2011
Steam billows from Kempton Park Power Station in Johannesburg in March 2011. Anglo Dutch energy giant Shell said Thursday that shale gas could potentially meet South Africa's future energy needs if controversial "fracking" drilling uncovered large deposits.

Anglo Dutch energy giant Shell said Thursday that shale gas could potentially meet South Africa's future energy needs if controversial "fracking" drilling uncovered large deposits.

The company would spend $200 million (140 million euros) to explore for in the vast Karoo semi-desert region if granted a licence to drill and any development would run into billions of dollars, said Shell South Africa upstream general manager Jan Willem Eggink.

"If exploration efforts prove that the shale contains commercially producible gas, and that still has to be proven, then South Africa could see production from this source within a decade," he told the Cape Town Press Club.

"If the volumes are even half the amount that the [US] Energy Information Administration quotes at the moment, then there will be sufficient energy for decades to come for South Africa and there is a good chance you will be self-sufficient for that whole period in energy."

Shell is one of several companies that want to prospect in the central Karoo which has sparked an environmental outcry over the use of drilling to release underground resources.

Exploratory drilling was needed to establish if gas could be extracted in commercial quantities and an environmental impact assessment if a licence is granted, Eggink told the Cape Town Press Club.

The project could potentially ease coal-hungry South Africa's deficit, its and lead to "significant" direct foreign investment, he said.

"We will spend at least 200 million dollars for the first phase of the exploration work. If you go later into development, I think you're talking about billions and billions of dollars," he said.

South Africa's government has frozen applications and decisions on current bids while it conducts a study into the impact of the process which blasts a mix of water, sand and chemicals into hard rock to release gas locked inside.

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User comments : 3

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kevinrtrs
3.3 / 5 (3) Sep 02, 2011
If Shell gets the go-ahead to frack [most probably through bribery of high-placed officials, since there's considerable opposition to their intentions] then Mr Jan Willem Eggink and his co-horts should be tracked from then on so that they can be brought to court when it later becomes clear just how Shell has messed up the clean Karoo ecosystem.

Shell has a terrible record of moving into lesser developed countries and raping and butchering the land resources whilst running away with the money gained from those criminal activities. They then leave the mess behind.
These people should be held accountable, starting with the now-named Mr Jan Willem Eggink.
rwinners
not rated yet Sep 02, 2011
Wow. Big if, from any number of vantage points.
Robert_Wells
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
omg Kevin, im speechless. this is your first post where you didn't mention some far-fetched devoted view. i would say im proud of you and you are finally moving on, but yea i know this is just an anomaly. in fact i already checked, this IS an anomaly, your already trolling other articles w the usual bull.

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