http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.34Change: -0.01
R/$ = 10.68Change: 0.03
Au 1294.20 $/ozChange: -0.39
Pt 1463.50 $/ozChange: 3.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Sep 11, 2012

Shale licensing to proceed, but exploratory fracking prohibited for now

Back
Engineering|Africa|Chesapeake|DST|Energy|Eskom|Exploration|Flow|Gas|Karoo Action Group|Mineral Resources|PROJECT|Resources|Shell|Statoil|Systems|Water|Africa|South Africa|Square Kilometre Array|Coordination Systems|Energy|Energy Supply Considerations|Flow|Mining|Potential Shale-gas Investors|Shale Gas Mining|Shale-gas Licence Applications|Systems|Unconventional Gas|Environmental|Drilling|Jonathan Deal|Susan Shabangu|Water|South Africa|Fracturing
Engineering|Africa|Eskom|Exploration|Flow|Gas|PROJECT|Resources|Shell|Systems|Water|Africa|||Energy|Flow|Mining|Systems||Environmental|Drilling|Water||
engineering|africa-company|chesapeake|dst-company|energy-company|eskom|exploration|flow-company|gas-company|karoo-action-group|mineral-resources|project|resources|shell|statoil|systems-company|water-company|africa|south-africa|square-kilometre-array-facility|coordination-systems|energy|energy-supply-considerations|flow-industry-term|mining|potential-shale-gas-investors|shale-gas-mining|shale-gas-licence-applications|systems|unconventional-gas|environmental|drilling|jonathan-deal|susan-shabangu|water|south-africa-region|fracturing
© Reuse this



South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) says it will move to consider the shale-gas exploration licence applications for the Karoo basin, but indicated on Tuesday that only “normal” exploration “excluding actual hydraulic fracturing”, or fracking, will be allowed until the country’s mining regulations had been “augmented” to take account of the unique issues posed by the process.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu clarified normal exploration to include “drilling”, as well as geophysical and geochemical mapping. But exploratory fracking would not be allowed during the 6 to 12 months it would take to formulate “appropriate regulations, controls and coordination systems”.

Both drilling and fracking are integral to the shale-gas exploration process, with the drilling used to confirm the existence of the shale formations and fracking to prove whether the gas will indeed flow from the shale.

No timeframes were offered for the issuance of licences, nor for the start of a broad-based consultation process that had been stipulated by Cabinet when it gave the now contextualised “conditional” approval to fracking at its meeting of September 4.

A monitoring committee would be established to oversee the augmentation of the mining regulations, as well as to supervise possible fracking operations, Shabangu said, quoting from Cabinet-endorsed recommendations arising from a task team probe of the potential and appropriateness of allowing fracking in South Africa. This committee had not yet been appointed.

The task team had comprised representatives from the departments of Mineral Resources, Environmental and Water Affairs, Energy and Science and Technology (DST), as well as from Eskom, the Council for Geoscience, the Water Research Commission and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). It also included academics from the universities of the Free State and Western Cape.

The report also called for collaboration between the DMR and the DST to ensure “co-existence” between the SKA radio astronomy research and any shale gas mining, as well as for further geohydrology investigation.

Shabangu also insisted that a far-reaching consultation process would be pursued on the basis of Cabinet’s cautious endorsement of fracking and the inclusion of unconventional gas into South Africa’s future energy supply considerations.

A number of questions were posed at the briefing, including by the Treasure the Karoo Action Group’s Jonathan Deal, about the fact that the consultation and regulatory strengthening processes had been sequenced in parallel with the licensing process and possible limited exploration.

But Shabangu insisted that government had no previous mandate, or basis, for consultation, which the task team report now provided. Government would consider amending its processes should well-founded suggestions and objections be raised during consultations with affected parties and stakeholders.

The Minister stressed the licensing would proceed in line with the administrative guidelines of South Africa’s Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, which made it incumbent upon the DMR to consider the merits of five applications received to date. Failure to do so could result in court challenges by the applicants.

Shabangu refused to confirm the names of the applicants, stating that the department would need to reconfirm whether all the applicants remained interested. It is known, though, that Shell South Africa has made application to the department, while names such as Anglo American, Bundu, Falcon Energy, Chesapeake and Statoil have also been linked to the process. Sasol also applied in a joint venture with Statoil and Chesapeake, but withdrew following a desktop evaluation of the project's technical feasibility.

Shell South Africa upstream GM Jan Eggink told Engineering News Online that the prohibition of exploratory fracking during the period when the monitoring committee and new regulations were being established and finalised was not a worry for Shell.

The group still needed to secure an exploration licence and complete an environmental-impact assessment (EIA) for the exploration wells, which could take up to two years to finalise. Shell is yet to go out to tender for an independent consultant to conduct the EIA.

“What the Minister has proposed, therefore, makes sense. She wants to set up a monitoring committee and before that monitoring committee is installed you wouldn’t like hydraulic fracturing to start, because it is there to oversee that process,” Eggink added.

But in the longer run, an exploration permit that disallowed fracking activities would “not be a very valuable licence to hold”.

The full task team report, entitled ‘Investigation of Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo Basin of South Africa’, would be made available once it had been edited. But the executive summary, which was released, argued that conditional fracking was considered more appropriate than an outright ban or unconditional sanction.

The report highlighted the risks posed to water resources and astronomy research, but said that the socioeconomic and energy benefits could be material.


 

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latest News
Updated 7 hours ago While the global economy continues to battle growth headwinds as it slowly emerges from a lingering post-recessionary phase, the greatest inhibitors to South African economic development are largely domestic and within government’s control, Finance Minister...
Updated 7 hours ago Building materials firm Infrasors said on Friday that FD Marius Potgieter, who had occupied the position since July 1, 2009, had tendered his resignation and would leave the company with immediate effect.  Construction supplies manufacturer Afrimat FD and Infrasors...
Updated 7 hours ago Telecommunications group Telkom on Friday announced that, following extensive facilitated consultations and deliberations, management and organised labour had reached consensus that the company’s current restructuring process would proceed.  “The parties have...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South African construction company Group Five says work on the rehabilitation of the 800 km stretch of the Plumtree–Mutare highway, in Zimbabwe, should be completed by the end of this year. Giving evidence before the Parliamentary Porfolio Committee on Transport...
SINGLE EXPERIMENT An artist’s impression of OCO-2 in orbit
The Space Operations division of the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) revealed on July 17 that it had supported the successful launch of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite on July 2. The...
RICE TAG The real costs of operating Rea Vaya have become clear
Phase 1A of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system should carry around 42 000 people a day, while it was been expected that Phase 1B, rolled out last year, would add another 60 000 daily passengers. However, the entire system is currently carrying...
A stormwater project in Bedforview, east of Johannesburg, has stalled for eight months after project managers in the Ekurhuleni municipality resigned and municipal managers were placed on special leave without designating replacements. Construction to reinforce the...
The design of the Beit Bridge border post is the biggest impediment to efficient freight movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, says Cross-border Road Transport Agency CEO Sipho Khumalo. Beit Bridge is the busiest border post in Africa. A research study on the...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks