Falcon oil publishes revised EMPr for shale gas exploration

JANUARY 21, 2015

Falcon oil has published a Revised Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) for shale gas exploration in the Southern Karoo Basin.

Falcon says it is applying for an exploration right in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act over an area that includes the districts of Aberdeen, Graaff-Reinet, Jansenville, Willowmore and Pearston. Most of the towns, however, fall outside the exploration area.

It adds that that the larger settlements that exist within the application area include Aberdeen and Jansenville.

It states that most of the land within the application area is privately owned farmland, mostly used for raising livestock and game for hunting or eco-tourism.

It states that “very few formally protected fall within or overlap with the application area and all these have been excluded from the application area.

Falcon explains that an EMPr “supported by extensive public consultation” was compiled and submitted to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa in 2011.

However, it says, the processing of applications for exploration rights was placed on hold “to allow the government to conduct further investigations into the potential implications of shale gas development”.

Falcon says that in November last year it was informed by the Department of Mineral Resources that the processing of the exploration right for which it had applied would continue.

It says the department also noted that a considerable period of time had elapsed since the EMPr had been submitted in 2011.

The department instructed Falcon that “having regard for the deep-seated concerns expressed by interested and affected parties, to review and update the 2011 EMPr and “conduct associated consultation”.

Falcon states that the revised EMPr as well as the record of consultations and the results of this process have to be submitted to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) before February 27 this year.

It says that in response to the instruction it had compiled an updated EMPr and this had now been released for public comment, with several public meetings also planned. The comments and other responses will be submitted to PASA before February 27. - getnews.co.za


CAPTION: Shale gas drilling facility in Poland IMAGE sourced from www.aecom.com