Shale Gas Might Rescue South Africa’s Dying Economy

At this point of time, a barrel of oil costs $60, showing some signs of improvement from its previous value of below $50 back in March. Yet, full recovery of oil seems very unlikely, and people wonder whether fossil fuels will last that much longer as our primary source of power. Research indicates that oil demand will peak at 2030, while others believe another oil crisis could happen again in the future, with permanent damages as a consequence

Slowing rates of consumption have led to the closure of oil and gas rotaries in the United States. But many still see the fossil fuel industry as a lucrative investment as they pour capital into Iraq’s oil-rich fields in Rumaila and spend their funds on exploration programs throughout Africa, particularly in Namibia where around 60 petroleum exploration licenses have already been issued to local and foreign investors. Others have joined the race for renewable energy as the prices of solar and wind power continues to decrease. South Africa have taken a different route to address the slump in commodities, as they believe that shale gas exploration in the Karoo region could help survive the economy.

In the last 12 months, 36 mining rights have been granted with the hope to create around 6,000 jobs, as explained by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi. The nation’s budding shale industry may soon have a new program starting up within the next several weeks, should the government approve new regulations on shale exploration in Karoo.

It’s been said that the semi-desert area holds up to 400 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, and passing these new rules will mitigate the current energy shortages. Environmentalists fear that extraction would damage the water supply of surrounding communities, which is why it’s of the utmost importance that extractors conduct all the appropriate assessments and work with local communities to minimize disturbances.

Prior to Western-led sanctions against Iran, South Africa had been the leading importer for Iran’s crude oil and the ninth in the world, which was reported by the Tasnim News Agency earlier this month. If the sanctions are ever lifted, South Africa are prepared to cooperate with Iran once again to boost each other’s economies, given the amount of potential in shale gas.