The Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) published a report titled “South Africa’s technical readiness to support the shale gas industry”, of a study that was commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology in 2014. The department wanted to assess current available information and technologies, should shale gas exploitation be implemented, to counter energy challenges.
The Cabinet considered the report last month, in which a panel chaired by University of Cape Town (UCT) academic Cyril O’Connor said there was a need for clarity on the availability of underground saline water, “given that it is unlikely that potable groundwater will be used for any such exploitation”. Opponents of shale gas exploration in the Karoo often single out groundwater contamination as a risk. The panel also flagged a skills shortage, saying there was a dearth of high-level technical competencies.
In the report, the panel said the lead time for the full implementation of a shale gas industry in South Africa would be at least ten years from the time of the award of the first exploration licences. It said decision-making processes on whether or not to proceed with the development of a shale gas industry should be based on robust and peer-reviewed evidence.
Source: IOL Business Report