South Africa: Imposes “Fracking” Moratorium in Karoo

South Africa’s cabinet placed a moratorium on oil and gas exploration licenses in the semi-arid Karoo region, where the controversial shale extraction technique of “fracking” might be deployed.

 

The South African government recently imposed a moratorium on fracking in the Karoo region. Fracking is the controversial technique of extracting gas from shale deposits.

 

The South African government’s recent decision to impose a moratorium on fracking in the Karoo region has stymied the plans of a number of large businesses to use this technique to release oil and gas from shale deposits rich in these natural resources. Petrochemical groups Sasol, Anglo American, and Falcon Oil and Gas (FO.V), as well as Royal Dutch Shell, which owns exploration rights to 90,000 sq. km. (34,750 sq. miles) in the region, are seeking to use the controversial technique. Fracking involves blasting shale deposits with water, sand, and chemicals in order to “create cracks for gas and oil to escape.”

 

Studies are being done to determine the environmental impact of fracking, especially on drinking water. South African Cabinet spokesman Jimmy Manyi said, “[A] multi-departmental task team is going to make sure that all angles are covered in terms of [the] government getting proper information about the implication of fracking.” Currently, Africa, which relies heavily on coal, is seeking to develop alternate forms of energy while maintaining environmental standards. Home to mountain zebras and riverine rabbits, both rare species, the Karoo region may hold vast deposits of natural gas in deep underground shale rock. The benefits and hazards of fracking require further review before the technique is used in Karoo and other parts of the world.

 

Click here to read Reuters news article on topic.

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