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South Africa set to issue shale drilling permits in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: October 23, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Kevin Crowley
Bloomberg News

South Africa plans to issue licenses permitting exploration of shale-gas reserves in the first quarter, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said.

“Now we have a 30-day period where we are expecting to get public comments from the various parties; by early next year, it will be done,” she said in an interview in Johannesburg today.

The country published proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Oct. 15, a year after lifting a ban on the drilling process known as fracking, as it seeks to tap as much as 485 trillion cubic feet of resources in the semi-arid Karoo region. Opponents of the practice, which blasts water, chemicals and sand into rock to release natural gas, say it risks contaminating ground water.

Royal Dutch Shell and other explorers have applied for permits to explore the Karoo. South Africa, which imports 70 percent of its crude-oil needs, estimates shale gas may generate 1 trillion rand ($100 billion) of sales within three decades, helping bring it closer to supplying its own energy demand.

The nation’s plans to exploit shale-gas reserves are “indefensible” and will lead to a legal battle, Treasure Karoo Action Group Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Deal said Oct. 16.

The draft rules require drillers to meet American Petroleum Institute standards governing the type of equipment used and the disclosure of chemicals. The move to pursue exploration follows a shale boom in the U.S., while diverging from policy in France, the Netherlands and Bulgaria where fracking has been restricted or banned in response to public protests.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.