SHALE GAS: Consultations on shale gas to take place next month

AUGUST 28, 2014

Mineral Resources Department Director-General Thibedi Ramontja says government will consult interested and affected parties next month “before allowing the exploration (of shale gas) to begin”. 

Government previously announced that it would allow oil companies to explore and develop natural gases through the highly controversial ‘Hydraulic Fracking’ technology in the region of Karoo.

SA News reports that he made the remarks while briefing the National Assembly’s Mineral Resources Committee.

Ramontja said that the draft regulations would be “effective” in dealing with the risks that exploration might pose to the environment.

“The draft regulations, once finalised, will result in a regulatory framework that ensures safe extraction of gas, which will contribute to the diversification of South Africa’s energy mix, energy security supply, significantly boost South Africa’s economy and have positive effects on Gross Domes-tic Product (GDP),” he said.

The department halted new applications for exploration rights in 2011 in order to investigate the impact this might have on the environment.

The team also looked at the possible impact the exploration of shale gas might have on astronomy research connected with the Square Kilometres Array project in the Karoo.

Ramontja said while it was too early to estimate the reserves of shale gas, the contribution it would make to the economy and how many jobs would be created, companies, would not have shown any interest if they did not anticipate making a profit. - MetroMinutes

Photo caption: HOT DEBATE... Mineral Resources Department Director-General Thibedi Ramontja says government will consult interested and affected parties next month “before allowing the exploration (of shale gas) to begin”. Photo courtesy of climate-change blog.