Debates on Fracking: Both Sides of the Coin

50|50 Fracking debate

50|50 Episode 20 – 22 October 2012

With the moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo lifted, fracking is back on everyone’s minds. There are more lobby groups than ever before and many of them are citing the dire consequences of fracking experienced in the USA.

Fracking is banned, or under some form of restriction in more than 140 places around the world.

The biggest fear is that fracking will contaminate the already scarce water sources in the Karoo – many farmers’ lifeblood. Economists see the potential wealth in the thus far unexploited natural-gas resource and the idea of job creation is frequently suggested as a benefit to uplift poor communities in the Karoo. With the release of the task team’s report, many new questions have been raised and people generally feel left in the dark with regards to what will happen to their properties and the environment, now and in the future. Shell has apparently launched a charm-offensive to woo municipalities into their quarter, but with the lack of a regulatory body or appropriate chemical testing facilities in SA, who will regulate fracking – in the exploration phase and if fracking is eventually approved?

50|50 goes in search of the latest on fracking and speaks to those for and against…

Shale Gas from the Karoo?

Description: Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) Keywords: Institute for Grondwater Studies, IGS, Gerrit van Tonder

Open debate at the Groote Kerk Dutch Reformed Church, Cape Town Sunday night, 23 September 2012

The debate was about hydraulic fracking in the Karoo.

Prof Gerrit van Tonder from the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State was a guest speaker at this event. Other speakers were members of Treasure the Karoo.

Prof Van Tonder's slideshow can be downloaded here.

The Shale Gas Story in the Karoo: Both sides of the coin

Dr Danie Vermeulen, Director of the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS), presented a lecture on the 'fracking story' at the UFS on Thursday 17 May 2012.

The lecture formed part of a public lecture series of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences under the theme Sustainability.

Description: Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) Keywords: Danie Vermeulen, fracking, shale gas

The exploitation of shale gas in the pristine Karoo is probably one of the most debated issues in South Africa since 2011. A lot of information and misinformation was fed to the public by the media, resulting in a public outcry.

What is the real truth? Can we discard this form of energy?

In this talk, Dr Vermeulen discussed the process of hydro-fracturing, as well as the advantages and disadvantages for the ordinary South African.

Vermeulen is a trained geo-hydrologist and geologist. He has been involved in fracking in South Africa since the debate started.

He went on a study tour to America in 2011 to learn more on how the process works and has given numerous talks in South Africa. He has also acted as advisor to the National Strategic Planning Committee and to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.

A further study tour to Wyoming on invitation from Shell SA was undertaken in May/June 2012 by Dr Vermeulen and Prof Gideon Steyl.

Weg met emosie en fokus op skaliefeite

Dr Danie Vermeulen
Rapport, 2012/07/08
(Only available in Afrikaans)

Sedert die energiereuse Shell en aanvanklik Sasol planne bekend gemaak het om skaliegas in die Karoo te ontgin – wat hulle sê Suid-Afrika se energiekrisis kan help oplos – voer verskillende kampe verwoed oorlog in die media.

So erg was die teenstand dat die regering ’n moratorium op enige verdere eksplorasie vir skaliegas geplaas het, hangende die uitreiking van ’n navorsingsverslag later vandeesmaand oor die meriete en gevare van hidrouliese breking, oftewel hidrobreking.

Ons moet egter waak teen al die emosies en na die feite kyk.

Click here to read the rest of the story.


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