S. Africa Asks Shale-Gas Applicants to Cut Reference to Fracking

South Africa’s oil-industry regulator asked companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp. to remove references to fracking from their applications for shale-gas projects in the Karoo region so they can be processed while relevant legislation is prepared.

“The companies involved have been requested to revise their environmental management programs,” Dave van der Spuy, manager of resource evaluation at Petroleum Agency SA, said in a presentation. “Any reference to hydraulic fracturing will have to be removed from those environmental management programs.”

Shell, Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd., a partner of Chevron, and Bundu Oil & Gas Exploration Pty Ltd., owned by Melbourne-based Challenger Energy, have applied to explore in the semi-desert region. A moratorium on new applications remains in place, Van der Spuy said. “No hydraulic fracturing will be included in the first period of integration,” he said.

Ministry officials recently stated that regulations would be put forward for public consultation in December and January, and possibly be completed by the end of the year, Van der Spuy said. “So that will pave the way to hydraulic fracturing.”

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