South Africa lifts moratorium on shale gas exploration in Karoo Region


South Africa lifts moratorium on shale gas exploration in Karoo Region


JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's cabinet said it endorsed a recommendation by the Department of Mineral Resources to lift a ban on shale gas exploration in the Karoo region.

The government in April 2011 placed a moratorium on exploration in the Karoo, an arid area believed to house shale gas reserves, after uproar from environmentalists and concerns from the local community. The Department of Mineral Resources last month presented a report to parliament with recommendations, the details of which haven't yet been released.

Cabinet approved the report on shale gas exploration submitted by minister of Mineral Resources from the technical task team convened last year, a statement from the government cabinet said Friday. "Cabinet endorsed recommendations of the report on the lifting of the afore-stated moratorium."

A consultant's report last year for the United States Energy Information Administration estimated South Africa's recoverable shale-gas resources at 486 Tcf, which would make them the fifth-largest in the world. A report on behalf of Shell by a South Africa research firm this year estimated the reserves at 450 Tcf.

Along with Shell, Falcon and Bundu, a South African company that teamed up with Challenger Energy, also have applied for exploration licenses.

Dow Jones Newswires

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