Shell retreating from aggressive fracking plans in South Africa

AfriForum and the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) view Shell South Africa’s indication of its intention to withdraw from shale gas exploration in the sensitive Karoo block as a major victory for those who care about the environment. AfriForum and TKAG played a key role over the past seven years in mobilising communities, petitioning Parliament and instituting court action to have fracking banned.

“We believe that ongoing activism and continuous legal pressure on fracking companies and Government by AfriForum, TKAG and other pressure groups will ensure that companies like Bundu Gas and Oil, Sunset Oil and Gas, Falcon Oil and Gas, and Rhino Oil and Gas will shortly follow Shell and Sasol’s retraction of fracking plans in water-scarce areas. AfriForum and TKAG encourage these companies to rather pursue clean energy ideals as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030,” says Marcus Pawson, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs.

“Given the global environmental, social and economic pressure that has steadily developed against fracking since 2011, we are not surprised to see Shell withdrawing their fracking plans for the Karoo,” says Jonathan Deal, CEO of the Treasure Karoo Action Group.

Shell initially claimed that they could extract about 485 trillion cubic feet (cf) of gas in the Karoo, a figure that has diminished to less than 30 trillion cf. They also claimed operations would create between 300 000 and 700 000 jobs – a figure routinely quoted by the South African Government. However, Government’s own studies point to a possible 3 000 jobs of which only between 15% and 35% would have been for local South Africans.

According to Deal, it is thanks to South Africans who fought so hard against shale mining that these companies are regretting pinning their colours to the mast of this sinking ship. “Go well, go Shell. Just go,” Deal concludes.

Community members can support the alliance by sending an SMS with the word “Fracking” to 45354 (R1).

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