Tag Archive: Shale gas


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the guardian

Botswana sells fracking rights in national park

Licences for more than half of the Kgalagadi transfrontier park, one of Africa’s largest conservation areas, have been granted to drill for shale gas

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion.
The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion. Photograph: Jeffrey Barbee/Alliance Earth.org

 

The Botswana government has quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas, it has emerged.

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park, which spans the border with South Africa, is an immense 3 6,000 sq km wilderness, home to gemsbok desert antelope, black-maned Kalahari lions and pygmy falcons. But conservationists and top park officials – who were not informed of the fracking rights sale – are now worried about the impact of drilling on wildlife.

Prospecting licences for more than half of the park were granted to a UK-listed company called Nodding Donkey in September 2014, although the sale has not been reported previously. That company changed its name earlier this month to Karoo Energy.

Park officials said that no drilling has yet taken place, but the Guardian found oil sediment on the ground near a popular camp site. There was an overwhelming smell of tar and a drill stem protruded from an apparently recently drilled hole. It is not known who had carried out the drilling or when.

Scientist Gus Mills worked and lived in Kgalagadi for 18 years studying cheetahs and hyenas. He said he is worried about the impact on wildlife and environment.

“The development that is going to have to go on there, with infrastructure that has to be moved in, seems to be yet another nail in the coffin of wild areas in the world.”

Dr Peter Apps, who studies large predators for the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust , said drilling could have a range of impacts, notably on water sources in the park.

 

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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Legislation  :  Environmental – Hydraulic Fracking – Gas

Quebec government hints at long-term fracking ban

The new Parti Quebecois government hasn’t wasted any time hinting about a long-term ban on the shale gas industry.

Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet.

Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet.

Photograph by: Jacques Boissinot , THE CANADIAN PRESS

QUEBEC — The new Parti Quebecois government hasn’t wasted any time hinting about a long-term ban on the shale gas industry.

Quebec’s new natural-resources minister, Martine Ouellet, says she doesn’t believe the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale, known as “fracking,” can ever be done safely.

She made the remarks Thursday on her way into her first cabinet meeting, less than 24 hours after she was named to cabinet.

“I don’t foresee a day when there will be technology that will allow safe exploitation (of shale gas),” Ouellet said in Quebec City.

“Our position is very clear: we want a complete moratorium, not only on exploitation but also on exploration of shale gas. We haven’t changed our minds.”

Under political pressure, the former Liberal government halted shale-gas exploration last year in the fledgling industry to conduct more studies on the ecological risks. The environmental-review process was expected to take a couple of years.

Critics fear the method of unlocking natural gas from shale formations will create serious environmental problems — including the contamination of drinking water.

The industry insists that extraction chemicals are only used in small doses and the chances of them seeping into the environment are very slim.

Analysts, meanwhile, have called shale gas a potential economic game-changer.

The industry has boasted that the provincial government, which is saddled with public debt, would reap annual royalties of $1 billion from shale gas development.