Apr 05, 2011
Action group wants moratorium on Karoo ‘fracking’ applicationsBack
Cape Town|Havemann Inc|Karoo Action Group|Renewable Energy|Shell|Africa|Canada|France|South Africa|United Kingdom|United States|Institute Of Marine|University Of Cape Town|Energy|Energy Giant|Hydraulic Fracturing Technology|Liquid Chemical Mixture|Shale Gas|Shale Gas Project|Shale Gas Reserves|Toxic And Hazardous Chemicals|Jan Glazewski|Jonathan Deal|Lewis Pugh|Luke Havemann|Susie Brownlie|Chemicals|The Fundamental Dependence|Fracturing|Hydraulic Fracturing Technology|Technology Of Hydraulic Fracturing
© Reuse this
The group also urged government to put an “immediate end” to not only Shell’s application, but also to decline any future fracking exploration in the Karoo.
The written objection, which has been served to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) and Shell, is a 104-page critical review of the energy group’s draft environmental management plan (EMP) for its proposed Karoo shale gas project and its proposal to use hydraulic fracturing technology.
Fracking involves the injection of a liquid chemical mixture contained in vast quantities of water into deep boreholes to create pressure to cause fracturing of rocks, which will determine the potential of the shale gas reserves.
Speaking at a press conference in Cape Town, TKAG director Dr Luke Havemann said that the common thread running through the written objection was that Shell’s EMP contained insufficient information for government to make an informed decision on the application.
The main concerns highlighted in the document included Shell’s vagueness about the source of the water required for fracking in a water-stressed region of the country, as well as the potentially severe adverse health effects on both people and ecosystems resulting from possible contamination of surface water and groundwater, given the use of potentially toxic and hazardous chemicals and the fundamental dependence of lives and livelihoods on water.
Concern was also raised about the fact that moratoria in a significant number of developed countries, including the UK, Canada, France, and some states within the US, have been placed on fracking, pending the undertaking of further studies.
Significantly, Havemann stated that there was a concern over the lack of alignment of Shell’s application with a number of constitutional and national environmental management provisions, including the right to ecologically sustainable development and inter-generational equity.
Environmental activist Lewis Pugh noted that Shell’s application to start hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo was unconstitutional.
“I find it very difficult to foresee a situation whereby Shell’s application can go through and stand up to our constitution.”
It was also stated that Shell’s proposal to exploit shale gas reserves had not been weighed up against those of the renewable energy sector, which had more long-term environmentally sustainable benefits for the country.
The document was compiled by Dr Havemann of Cape Town-based law firm Havemann Inc, which specialises in energy affairs, Prof Jan Glazewski of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law at the University of Cape Town and environmental consultant Susie Brownlie.
They drew on input received from 22 scientists from a range of disciplines varying from public health, economics and biodiversity to paleontology and astronomy.
TKAG national spokesperson Jonathan Deal pointed out that Shell was not the only applicant interested in exploiting the Karoo’s shale gas resources.
Deal said that there were many companies eyeing the Karoo so TKAG’s ultimate objective was to stop the technology of hydraulic fracturing from being used in South Africa.
Consequently, TKAG urged government to place a long-term moratorium on fracking until all the risks and potential consequences, particularly with respect to water resources and public health, had been investigated in both an international and national context.
Havemann added that this was essential since there was neither a national policy in place to define fracking, nor was there capacity at present to enforce compliance with any of the conditions of approval.
TKAG said it was prepared to take the issue to the Constitutional Court and was similarly prepared to lobby every shareholder of the Shell group to prevent fracking in the Karoo.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Energy News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...