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Shale Gas Shale Gas in South Africa: Caught in A Catch 22 Situation?

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Despite huge perspectives for unconventional natural gas (shale gas), especially in South Africa, the gas industry finds itself caught in a "Catch 22" situation, analysts of Frost & Sullivan believe...

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The shale gas boom continues: In 20 years, nearly half of America's gas could come frome unconventional sources.
The shale gas boom continues: In 20 years, nearly half of America's gas could come frome unconventional sources.
(Picture: PROCESS/Source: EIA)

South Africa sits on 485 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas, EIA figures predict. This enormous potential could make the country the global number five in shale gas reserves, analysts of Frost and Sullivan say. With shale gas, South Africa could drastically reduce its dependency on coal for energy production, reducing carbon emissions, boost the country's GDP by 80 billion Rand (€ 6.8 billion) and create around 293,000 jobs, especially in the Karoo region.

Despite these figures, Frost & Sullivan see the country's shale gas perspective clouded by what Industry Analyst Dominic Goncalves describes as a catch 22 situation: Because of environmental concerns, current shale gas pilot projects have to prove their commercial and ecological viability without using hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking. A production without fracking is, nevertheless, neither viable nor realistic, Goncalves says.

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