South Africa Releases Draft Shale Gas Regulations

In 2017, geologists at the University of Johannesburg and three other institutions estimated the gas resource in the Karoo region of South Africa was probably 13 Tcf.

Wendell Roelf, Reuters

South Africa has released new draft rules for public comment for onshore shale gas fracking, four years after the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in the ecologically sensitive Karoo region.

The proposed regulations and minimum requirements apply to the exploration and production of onshore oil and gas that requires hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers by creating cracks to allow the gas to escape.

A decade ago, the Karoo sparked intense interest from companies including Shell Plc, Sasol and Falcon Oil & Gas, but farmers and environmentalists went to court to challenge any drilling in the vast semi-arid region, which saw enthusiasm wane amid regulatory uncertainty.

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