Responding to claims made by private firms and state agencies regarding the promise of shale gas as a cheap source of energy for South Africa, WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) has undertaken an analysis of these claims in its latest report framework to assess the economic reality of shale gas in South Africa.
Public discourse on the potential of shale gas in South Africa has focused primarily on the environmental and social implications with comparatively little attention given to the critical assessment of whether or not hydraulic fracturing (fracking) would be commercially viable. The implied assumption by oil and gas industry proponents is that vast amounts of money could be made from the industry to the benefit of the industry, landowners, local communities and government.
This report offers a framework from which to assess the reality of this claim, incorporating the geological, environmental, technological and financing factors of fracking. Designed to frame the economic issues pertinent to shale gas in South Africa the report offers a model that, while not tested for South African conditions, could be useful in assessing the economics of shale gas. The report is available at http://awsassets.wwf.org.za/downloads/framing_the_economics_of_shale_gas_in_south_africa__report_web.pdf