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01 December 2011

Sasol gives up on fracking in the Karoo

Cape Town - Sasol's decision not to pursue hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the Karoo has been welcomed by the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG).

"We welcome Sasol's decision, particularly as the company appears to have taken time to actually listen to the people of the Karoo and acknowledge their concerns," the group said on Thursday.

The TKAG is resisting what it has labelled the exploitation of the Karoo by mining companies before independent scientific research has been conducted.

It was reported earlier that the petrochemical giant was shelving exploration plans in the Karoo.

Sasol [JSE:SOL] had recently concluded an extensive technical study for shale gas in the Karoo basin, chief financial officer Christine Ramon said.

The technical cooperation permit allowing it to do this expired on November 17. Sasol had decided not to pursue further exploration activities in the area at this stage, she said.

TKAG chairperson Jonathan Deal said the group hoped to persuade Shell and other companies which had also applied for exploration rights to show the same concern for the people living in the area.

These people's livelihoods and health could be placed in jeopardy as a result of fracking.

"We call on all residents of the Karoo and our supporters and members to join TKAG in congratulating Sasol on a responsible and sensitive decision," he said.

"We hope that this action by a global player in the energy field will act as a wakeup call to Royal Dutch Shell and other companies who still pursue their applications to frack in South Africa."

The government has placed a moratorium on exploration using the fracking method in the Karoo.

- FIN24