Sep 17, 2012
Shale gas to ‘dramatically’ change global energy sceneBack
Johannesburg|Africa|CoAL|Consulting|Environment|Exploration|Mining|Nuclear|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Water|Africa|Asia|Europe|North America|China|Japan|Russia|South Africa|United States|Chemical|Chemicals|Complimentary Electricity Source|Discovered Shale Gas Reserves|Electricity Supply|Energy|Energy Assets|Energy Markets|Energy Scene|Energy Source|Insatiable Energy Needs|Manufacturing|Natural Gas|Nuclear|Oil And Gas|Recoverable Shale Gas Reserves|Renewable Energy|Service|Shale Gas|Shale Gas Development|Shale Gas Extraction|Shale Gas Production|Shale Gas Resources|Shale-gas Licence Applications|Solutions|Dominic Goncalves|Michael Mbogoro|Power|Water|Middle East|Fracturing|Wastewater Treatment
© Reuse this
South Africa, which has the fifth-highest estimated technically recoverable shale gas reserves in the world, recently lifted its 18-month moratorium on shale gas development.
The Department of Mineral Resources stated that it would consider shale-gas licence applications for the Karoo basin, but that actual hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would be prohibited until mining regulations had been adapted.
While no timeframes were provided for the possible start of fracking activities, Frost & Sullivan estimated that if exploration and pilot studies were to get under way soon, commercial development could start in the next seven to nine years.
“Although this development will fall outside of South Africa’s current critical electricity supply, shale gas as a feedstock post-2020 could become a complimentary electricity source with renewable energy, as the country weans itself from coal,” Goncalves stated.
F&S consulting analyst Michael Mbogoro said that the development of shale resources was set to “dramatically change” the current energy landscape globally. But opponents to shale gas extraction argue that fracking is unsustainable, water thirsty and damaging to the environment.
In a new study by the research firm titled ‘Analysis of the Global Shale Gas Market’, it is stated that newly discovered shale gas reserves around the world were likely to promote consumption of gas as an energy source and an affordable feedstock for a wide variety of chemicals and materials.
The study further suggested that Europe would, in the long term, decrease its dependence on supplies from Russia and the Middle East, thus reducing their dominance in energy markets. This was likely to give rise to new geopolitical alliances at the expense of the old.
North American natural gas prices were found to be the lowest globally and chemical companies were fuelling a revival of the US manufacturing sector by capitalising on this cheap supply.
The report also found that opportunities existed for companies that produced hydraulic fracturing chemicals, as well as for wastewater treatment companies, owing to the high volumes of water consumed in shale gas production.
"The market is dominated by large energy service companies that enjoy close relationships with oil and gas participants. However, chemical companies still have a significant market share. Gelling agents are the major fracturing chemicals by volume, followed by friction reducers and corrosion inhibitors."
As a result of the significant volumes of water needed for shale gas production and increased regulations limiting toxicity levels in wastewater, innovative firms could tap into a market with promising growth prospects over the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, owing to increased shale gas production in North America, demand for gelling chemicals, such as guar gum, has risen, resulting in severe global shortages and high prices.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Mining News
Diversified giant Rio Tinto on Friday announced that it would streamline its business, condensing its assets into four product groups namely; aluminium, copper and coal, diamonds and minerals, and iron-ore. The miner said that the new copper and coal product group...
Gas has the potential to account for more than 40% of the electricity generated in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 2020 onwards, a new report by McKinsey & Company shows, adding that, by 2040, gas-fired capacity could be responsible for more than 700 terawatt-hours in...
International consulting engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has appointed Salani Sithole as South African MD, effective March 1. Sithole has been with the company for six years and, prior to joining RHDHV, held various positions in engineering consulting,...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...