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The Shale Gas Project

Shale gas is a natural gas consisting primarily of methane

Shale gas is a natural gas consisting primarily of methane and about 20% higher hydrocarbons (primarily ethane). Increasing exploration to find domestic gas feedstock (including investigating shale and coal bed methane reserves) to diversify the energy mix and reduce carbon emissions (National Development Plan 2030).

South Africa has an estimated 485 trillion cubic feet (13733.7 billion cubic metre) (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2011 and Fakir, 2015) and 390 trillion cubic feet (11043.6 billion cubic metre) (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013) in technically recoverable natural gas from shale reservoirs.

However, South Africa cannot make an environmental assessment of the Karoo’s shale gas exploitation by hydraulic fracturing with the currently available Legal Framework. Thus, the CGS shale gas project will serve as a baseline study for future shale gas research work and play a vital role in review of petroleum regulations (Government Gazette, No. R. 466, 3 June 2015).

The aim of this project is therefore to

  • Map the geological area, determine the environmental baseline, assess the amount of gas produced, test and monitor ground water contamination and monitor potential seismic interferences.

Figure 1.1 below shows the work done so far.

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