In early September, the South African government approved the lifting of a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas in the Karoo region of South Africa. The moratorium was imposed in February last year pending an investigation by government into the environmental and social effects of hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo.
Shale gas is hydrocarbon gas extracted from a class of sedimentary rocks consisting of very fine-grained particles. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the process used to drill horizontally and to break open the shale and extract the gas by applying force using fluids and chemicals.
Fracking could be of serious interest to many major companies in India and elsewhere that are either in the oil and gas industry or supply goods and services to this industry.
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Robert Appelbaum is head of the South Asia Group at Webber Wentzel where Saﬁyya Patel is a partner. Webber Wentzel is one of the leading corporate law ﬁrms in Africa and the South African member of ALN, an established group of Africa’s 12 foremost law ﬁrms.
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