Framework For Shale Gas Exploration Now Being Augmented

NOVEMBER 11, 2014

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi says that his department is currently in the process of “augmenting the regulatory framework” for the exploration of shale gas.

Replying to a written question from Hendrik Schmidt (DA), the Minister told the National Assembly that currently five applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo area had been received.

The applications, he said, had come from Falcon Oil and Gas (Pty) Ltd, Shell Exploration Company and Bundu Gas and Oil Exploration.

Ramatlhodi explained that a detailed assessment of the applications “to deter-mine the extent of compliance with the requirements of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act for the purposes of granting or of refusal had not been undertaken.

He added that the Act provided for the Minister to grant applications of they complied with its provisions. If they did not comply, he said the applications “must be refused”. Ramatlhodi said that because none of the applications had been assessed as yet, none had been approved and none refused.

He said that once the process of augmenting the regulatory framework had been completed, then “the processing of applications will commence”.

Australian unconventional gas explorer Challenger Energy, which owns Bundu announced at the end of last month that it had been informed by the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) that a decision had been taken to proceed with the processing of its application.

The company described this as being “significant and positive news,” as applications for exploration rights for shale gas had been on hold since 2011.

Processing the exploration application represented a “major milestone” and indicated government was ready to move forward.

One of the areas where Bundu has exploration rights is at Cranemere in Camdeboo.