S.Africa lifts freeze on shale gas exploration

Sep 07, 2012 by Justine Gerardy
South Africa has lifted a freeze on bids to explore for shale gas in the central Karoo region, where energy giants hope to tap into vast underground deposits.

South Africa on Friday said it was lifting a freeze on shale gas exploration in a move condemned by environmentalists who fear that controversial fracking will pollute scarce water sources.

The country's cabinet approved the lifting of a moratorium set down last year on applications to explore for gas while a team probed the effects of drilling known as fracking.

"The moratorium has been lifted because cabinet is satisfied that with the information now at hand...they will be able to say this is how these issues are going to be mitigated," Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane told media.

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell is among several companies wanting to explore for commercially feasible in the vast semi-desert Karoo which may have one of the largest untapped deposits in the world.

The use of fracking, which blasts a mix of water, sand and chemicals into hard rock to release gas locked inside, has sparked a backlash over environmental fears of .

"Fracking is just another bad fossil fuel dead end," said .

"Greenpeace condemns the lifting of the on fracking, particularly given the potential impacts on scarce water resources and substantial renewable energy alternatives."

Shell wants to explore in area of around 90,000 square kilometres, while another company Falcon Oil & Gas is eyeing an area that is one and a half times the size of the famed Kruger National Park wildlife reserve.

A find of commercially exploitable deposits has been billed as a possible answer to easing coal-hungry South Africa's energy needs as it moves from heavy polluting electricity production towards greener sources.

"If it can make the shale gas produce commercial quantities of gas in an environmental way, then this could be a potential game changer for the country because this could provide security of supply of energy," Jan Willem Eggink, Shell South Africa general manager of upstream operations told AFP.

"And in addition to that, this can produce a lot of revenue for the state and also a significant amount of jobs."

Shell has said it would spend $200 million (156 million euro) for the first exploration phase of six wells if granted a licence to drill.

"If we have some encouragement, we will do more exploration wells and then we will easily spend a billion dollars or more," said Eggink, who was confident gas could be extracted in an environmentally safe way.

"We will only have a better feel what the amount of gas could be if we have drilled some exploration wells," he added.

The United States Energy Information Administration estimates that the country has 485 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas, which would make it the world's fifth biggest shale gas field.

Such a find would be equal to 400 years of crude oil imports, a Shell-funded study by local firm Econometrix said.

Working with more conservative estimates, Econometrix used figures of 20 to 50 trillion cubic feet of gas which was projected to create 290,000 to 700,000 jobs.

The cabinet decision was aired after a three day meeting but the fracking study report was not made public on Friday.

"We also feel that the study that they used to make their decision should be made public," said Ferrial Adam, Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner told AFP.

"Essentially, what it means is that our government has sent a signal to the international community that it has made in our view a hasty and ill-informed decision about a vastly unpopular technology," Jonathan Deal of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group told the private eNCA news channel.

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Jeweller
3 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2012
If the oil companies are willing to "easily spend a billion dollars" on exploration, then how many billions of dollars do they expect to get in return ? A hundred billion ?
Who will benefit ?
These may be rhetorical questions, but they need to be asked and answered.
NotParker
2 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2012
Shale gas is cheap and much cleaner than coal, so we all benefit with cheaper A/C (saves lives in heat waves) and cheaper heating (saves lives in winter) while the air is cleaner too (less particulate matter).

And there is a lot of gas. Hundreds of years worth.
Caliban
1 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2012

Who will benefit ?
These may be rhetorical questions, but they need to be asked and answered.


@jeweller,
I'm sure you know the answers to those questions, but please allow me to state them, for the record:

Royal Dutch Petroleum, its shareholders, contractors, middlemen, power-generation industries and various governmental officials and lobbyists will benefit.

Any other benefits will occur at random downstream and will be left entirely up to individual initiative on the part of the Public to attain, as will(by the Public, collectively) the costs to mitigate the inevitable negative/unintended/unforeseen consequences and "externalised" costs of this cheap, filthy technology.

And, as soon as the costs of extraction and legal actions begin to gain on profitability, RDP will sell out, pull up stakes, and leave the people and environment of SAfrica holding a great, big, fat bag full of "you're too late -so long, suckers!!!".

The gift of clairvoyance is indeed burdensome...
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 07, 2012
cheap, filthy technology.


SA gets most of its electricity from coal. Environmentalists claim coal is dirty and will destroy the water supply (their standard lie).

"Greenpeace warns that new coal-fired power stations and coal mines will lead to a water crisis in South Africa. "

http://washafrica...enpeace/

So you have a choice:

No electricity because according to environmentalists it all destroys your water supply.

Or cleaner air, cleaner water and cheap electricity from shale gas.

And, as a bonus, lying environmentalists heads will explode.
Jeweller
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 07, 2012
IMO; In order to see to South Africa's future electricity needs, Nuclear Power should be employed.
It is the cleanest and safest power source of all.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 07, 2012
IMO; In order to see to South Africa's future electricity needs, Nuclear Power should be employed.
It is the cleanest and safest power source of all.


Not according to Greenpeace.

http://www.greenp...g/35044/

http://www.greenp...-energy/

Remember, if it doesn't cost 10 times more than it should and doesn't kill millions of birds it is a bad technology.
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 07, 2012
Shale gas is cheap and much cleaner than coal, so we all benefit with cheaper A/C (saves lives in heat waves) and cheaper heating (saves lives in winter) while the air is cleaner too (less particulate matter).

And there is a lot of gas. Hundreds of years worth.


Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, NutPecker, we are all aware that coal is dirty, too.

We are also aware that Nuclear is by no means "clean and safe".

These are all claims that are purely relative, as is the claim that hydrofractured natural gas development is clean, cleaner, or safe.

Fracked NG is still a fossil fuel, it still adds CO2 to the atmosphere, and it still pollutes the environment via the "unintended/unforeseen consequences" vector I mentioned above.

Except that, the consequences are "unintended/unforeseen" in the academic sense only.

Same poison--different name.

But very cheap to develop and massively profitable --which is the WHOLE POINT.



NotParker
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 07, 2012
Shale gas is cheap and much cleaner than coal, so we all benefit with cheaper A/C (saves lives in heat waves) and cheaper heating (saves lives in winter) while the air is cleaner too (less particulate matter).

And there is a lot of gas. Hundreds of years worth.


Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, NutPecker, we are all aware that coal is dirty, too.

We are also aware that Nuclear is by no means "clean and safe".

These are all claims that are purely relative, as is the claim that hydrofractured natural gas development is clean, cleaner, or safe.

Fracked NG is still a fossil fuel, it still adds CO2 to the atmosphere, and it still pollutes the environment via the "unintended/unforeseen consequences" vector I mentioned above.

Except that, the consequences are "unintended/unforeseen" in the academic sense only.

Same poison--different name.

But very cheap to develop and massively profitable --which is the WHOLE POINT.





Sad and pathetic.
ValeriaT
4 / 5 (4) Sep 07, 2012
Shale gas is cheap and much cleaner than coal
Shale gas is way more costly than coal in general. It's cleaner only if we neglect the contamination of life environment with waste waters, methane, arsenic and radone leaks, dust from transportation of drilling equipment, noise of compressors, earthquake risk, contamination of ground waters with chemicals and explosives, etc. The conservatives are less intelligent and more careless in average, so it's too difficult for them to think in wider liberal connections - they just follow the temporal profit. All periodic financial crisis were caused with such short-seeing politics too.
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 07, 2012
[......]

And there is a lot of gas. Hundreds of years worth.

Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, NutPecker, we are all aware that coal is dirty, too.

We are also aware that Nuclear is by no means "clean and safe".

These are all claims that are purely relative, as is the claim that hydrofractured natural gas development is clean, cleaner, or safe.

Fracked NG is still a fossil fuel, it still adds CO2 to the atmosphere, and it still pollutes the environment via the "unintended/unforeseen consequences" vector I mentioned above.

Except that, the consequences are "unintended/unforeseen" in the academic sense only.

Same poison--different name.

But very cheap to develop and massively profitable --which is the WHOLE POINT.


Sad and pathetic.


I guess that means NutPecker disagrees?

So then, NutPecker --what is the point, in your opinion?

VendicarD
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2012
Better insulation will do much the same.

Can you tell us why U.S. homes are still being constructed with 4 inch thick walls, and orientations that make them unsuitable for passive solar heating? It is like the U.S. is some kind of throwback to the stone age era.

It is almost like the U.S. has been lobotomized by cultured Republican (Cro-magnon) ignorance.

Uhk, Uhk. Tutsie, Tutsie.

"so we all benefit with cheaper A/C (saves lives in heat waves) and cheaper heating (saves lives in winter) while the air is cleaner too (less particulate matter)." - ParkerTard

Some dare call it Treason.
VendicarD
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2012
More Misleading by ParkerTard

"And there is a lot of gas. Hundreds of years worth." - ParkerTard

There are indeed a couple of hundred of years of gas left at current rates of global consumption. But if shale gas is to replace oil and coal, then the rate of consumption will dramatically increase. It will also increase due to the increase in global population as well as the continuing industrializeation of third world nations.

I anticipate that gas consumption will increase by a factor of around 6 times it's consumption rate today.

200 years of available gas suddenly turns into 33 years when realistic rates of consumption are considered.

Since ParkerTard isn't a reasonable man, he doesn't reasonably consider this increased rate of consumption.

ValeriaT
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2012
Before some time I'd even accept the shale gas as viable alternative but in the times of twenty years ignored cold fusion research I do consider it simply stupid and short-seeing solution. We all have actually quite different problem - how to convince the people, who already invested into fossil fuel infrastructure to change their way of thinking, if it would mean, their investments will be buried. Because just these people are those, which can switch the economy into more effective one. It's vicious circle, which has no simple solution: just the people who have most of money have least motivation to change the way, in which they're making profit. From their position their stance is perfectly rational, despite it's short-seeing and limited to temporal human existence. But the world driven with money and private property has no tools, how to change this paradigm without deep violating it. So we are facing the global nuclear war for the rest of fossil fuel sources and we cannot avoid it.
CapitalismPrevails
1.8 / 5 (4) Sep 08, 2012
Do the no growth/flat earther environMENTAL wackos have any ECONOMICAL solution towards poverty?
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 08, 2012

I anticipate that gas consumption will increase by a factor of around 6 times it's consumption rate today.


33% of US electricity comes from coal and about the same comes from gas.

If the US eliminated coal, but kept its current nuclear plants and hydro plants, gas consumption would only double.

The world has barely scratched the surface of shale gas and oil because of lying environmentalists who prefer coal to clean gas because it is easier to scare gullible people into squandering trillions on renewables if coal is around.

NotParker
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 08, 2012

So then, NutPecker --what is the point, in your opinion?



AGW cultists are foul-mouthed dishonest whacko's.

Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2012

So then, NutPecker --what is the point, in your opinion?



AGW cultists are foul-mouthed dishonest whacko's.



So, in other words, the Pecker admits that the denialist broadsides with which he(?) papers these forums are nothing more than the most banal manifestation of his(?) BigCarbon shillery.

Well, sadly, it is only too true that there is always someone --in this case, NutPecker-- that will do it for a dollar.

Jeweller
5 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2012
Gentlemen, if any of you are interested. This subject is also being hotly debated here in Cape Town.
The newspaper; Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) has the headline FRACKING FALLOUT
A bit of a risque play on words. Journalists can't resist that.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 08, 2012

So then, NutPecker --what is the point, in your opinion?



AGW cultists are foul-mouthed dishonest whacko's.



So, in other words, the Pecker admits that the denialist broadsides with which he(?) papers these forums are nothing more than the most banal manifestation of his(?) BigCarbon shillery.

Well, sadly, it is only too true that there is always someone --in this case, NutPecker-- that will do it for a dollar.



Foul-mouthed AGW whackos pretend to care about CO2 and the environment.

When given an opportunity to move to a fuel that produces half the CO2 of coal per joule of energy with no particulate matter , they tell the most outrageous lies.

Cheap clean energy that is easy to change over to is a miracle.

Environmentalists hate everything and should be examined for mental illness and then put on heavy duty medications.
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2012



When given an opportunity to move to a fuel that produces half the CO2 of coal per joule of energy with no particulate matter , they tell the most outrageous lies.

Cheap clean energy that is easy to change over to is a miracle.

Environmentalists hate everything and should be examined for mental illness and then put on heavy duty medications.


And right on cue, NutPecker spews the freimarket party line, as expected.

Even ignoring -as you do- the "externalized" costs of ongoing CO2 emissions, environment degradation, ground and surface water pollution, and the improper disposal of toxic fluids associated with fracked NG, the Coal vs NG strategy is still a Lesser of Two Evils choice, with the degree of lesser being vanishingly small, depending on how much cost is accounted for.

You, NutPecker, can be depended upon to champion it as an alternative simply because it represents a possible uptick in the value of your Carbon-based investment portfolio.

Doin' it for a dollar.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2012
"If the US eliminated coal, but kept its current nuclear plants and hydro plants, gas consumption would only double." - ParkerTard

Now increase the global population by 3/9ths and increase that by another factor of at least 3 or 4 to take into consideration the growth of industrialization in second and third world countries.

Get back to us when you learn how to multiply ParkerTard.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Sep 08, 2012
Sorry Tard boy, but you haven't provided any opportunites.

"When given an opportunity to move to a fuel that produces half the CO2 of coal per joule of energy with no particulate matter , they tell the most outrageous lies." - ParkerTard

Meanwhile Todays Artcic sea ice area reached a new record low of 2.30 million km**2.

This is the first time in recorded history that such a low level of sea ice has been observed.

Unprecedented.

I am now in a position where I can confidently predict the time of zero ice area in the arctic.

This will undoubtedly occurr wihin the next 15 to 25 years.

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