South African Govt Places Moratorium on Fracking
Friday, April 22, 2011
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
South Africa's government placed a moratorium on licences for fracking, a technique used to extract gas in the Karoo Basin region, pending further research.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, sees a pressurised mixture of water, sand and chemicals pushed down drill holes, to explore for and then extract shale gas.
Shell is among several major energy companies keen on exploring the Karoo, a semi-arid region in the west of the country, using fracking.
Green groups worry about the effects of the technique, which could worsen air and water quality.
A government statement, announcing the moratorium, said the mineral resources department along with the trade and industry and science and technology departments, would lead research into the technique.
"Cabinet has made it very clear that (a) clean environment together with all the ecological aspects will not be compromised," government spokesman Jimmy Manyi was quoted by the SAPA news agency as saying.