S.Africa Says Shale Gas Fracking Needs Water License


PRETORIA, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Companies seeking shale gas exploration permits in South Africa will need to apply for a water usage licence, the country's water and environmental affairs minister said on Tuesday.

South Africa last year lifted a moratorium on shale gas exploration in its Karoo region, where the extraction technique known as fracking might tap what is believed to be some of the world's biggest reserves of the energy source.

That decision aroused criticism from environmentalists who say water supplies could be polluted by fracking, in which pressurised water, chemicals and sand are pumped underground to release gas trapped in shale formations. Water is also a scarce commodity in the vast, semi-arid Karoo region.

"I have taken the decision to issue a notice of intention to declare fracking a controlled activity in terms of the National Water Act ... What this means is that fracking becomes a water use, thus requiring a water use licence," water minister Edna Molewa told journalists.

The regulatory process around fracking in South Africa has been slow and no exploration permits have been issued yet.

Companies that have expressed an interest in exploring South Africa's shale gas potential include Royal Dutch Shell.

Developing just a 10th of South Africa's estimated resources could boost the economy by 200 billion rand ($19.56 billion) a year and create 700,000 jobs, a study, commissioned by Shell and carried out by research firm Econometrix, said last year.

But environmentalists have raised the alarm about fracking in the country, which has a large network of conservation groups and a history of green activism.

The sparsely populated Karoo is renowned for its rugged scenery and is home to rare animal species such as the mountain zebra and riverine rabbit, putting it on the radar screen of conservationists.

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


Click on the button below to add a comment.
Post a Comment
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Celia Janosik | Sep. 3, 2013
Ban fracking. Nothing good will come of it. Too much water used and lost forever and where will it go once it is contaminated. The Fossil Fuel Empire is bent on getting out as much gas as possible without consideration of the health of the people, especially the health of developing children. Methane will increase climate change and VOCs will create nervous system damage and later leukemia. Ban fracking now.


Our Privacy Pledge

Most Popular Articles

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
QA/HSE Advisor
Expertise: HSE Auditing
Location: Springtown, TX
Land GIS Spatial Analyst - Mineral Land
Expertise: Contracts Engineer|Geologist|Lease Analyst
Location: Denver, CO
On-site Construction Coordinator
Expertise: Client Representative|Construction Manager|Laborer
Location: Pecos, TX
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $48.06/BBL 2.51%
Light Crude Oil : $45.77/BBL 2.17%
Natural Gas : $2.97/MMBtu 2.30%
Updated in last 24 hours