Shale gas exploration in the Karoo may be a contentious and controversial issue, but South Africans – especially in and around the Karoo – may just have to brace themselves for what appears to be an inevitable move.
NMMU Geosciences lecturer Professor Maarten de Wit, who will be delivering the South African Academy of Engineering lecture at the New Science Building this evening.
Researchers – including those at NMMU – have, through countless studies, been looking into the feasibility and benefits of shale gas exploration, with a multimillion rand study reportedly showing that shale gas can be found all the way from Bhisho to Cradock.
In keeping with the national conversation, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is hosting the South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE) lecture titled “Karoo Dilemmas: Prospective Shale Gas Development in the Karoo – What is the Outlook?”
Set to be delivered by NMMU Geosciences lecturer Professor Maarten de Wit, the talk will encourage conversation on various issues, including the state of readiness for South Africa to venture into shale gas exploration.
Prof De Wit said the talk will also look into the receiving environment of the Karoo in terms of its geological, environmental and broader social context, “which is unique, both internationally and within South Africa”.
“The talk will . . . encourage [an] ‘are we ready?’ discussion that locates the ongoing process and broader shale gas debate in the historical context of South Africa’s hydrocarbon legacy, as well as the more contemporary socio-economic context and energy imbalances across southern Africa, at a time when there is a dire need to overcome insufficient local technical capacity and lack of social trust to ensure that shale gas might become a positive game-changer,” he said
Prof De Wit is known for defining a trans-disciplinary field of research – that links science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and the humanities – as a completely new discipline termed Earth Stewardship Science.
According to Prof De Wit, whether South Africa goes ahead with shale development or not revolves around regulatory and legislative reforms that are strongly connected to a complex mix of competitive issues that include:
The talk will take place at the New Science Building auditorium, on Mongoose Road at NMMU South Campus this evening at 5:30pm.
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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