South Africa’s Zuma says Shale gas will transform economy
BY KEVIN CROWLEY
HOZATEL (Bloomberg) -- South Africa must pursue the potential for shale-gas drilling in the Karoo region because it may transform the country’s economy, President Jacob Zuma said. The government will decide whether to allow shale-gas exploration in the region early next year after consulting local communities, Zuma said in Hozatel, Northern Cape province.
South Africa, seeking to tap as much as 485 Tcf of gas resources in the Karoo, published draft regulations governing hydraulic fracturing on October 15, a year after lifting a ban on the drilling process known as fracking. Opponents of the practice, which blasts water, chemicals and sand into rock to release gas, say it risks contaminating ground water.
Companies should “care for the environment” as they look for viable shale-gas reserves, Zuma said. Given the opportunity for the Karoo region and the economy as a whole, “we must explore this potential.”
The president is seeking ways to revive growth after the economy expanded at the slowest pace since the 2009 recession in the Q3. Pay strikes in mining, construction and car manufacturing this year have weighed on industrial output and the Reserve Bank last week cut its full-year growth forecast.