Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Large shale gas find in Karoo would be ‘game changer

JOHANNESBURG (mining weekly.com) – A discovery of large recoverable shale gas reserves in South Africa's Karoo Basin would be a "game changer" in the broader South African energy market context, Sasol Petroleum International MD Ebbie Haan said on Monday.


Even if the shale is now found to be suitable for shale gas extraction, that would not have been registered in the old records. So, in essence, the companies are starting from scratch, which means that the awarding of TCPs is appropriate.

The Sasol/Statoil/Chesapeake bid appears to have been pipped at the post, as the area in South Africa's Karoo Basin of most interest is the area that has now been completely taken up firstly by Falcon Oil & Gas and then by Shell.

Falcon, the first to apply, has got 30 000 km2; Shell bid a couple of months later and secured about 100 000 km2; and Sasol/Statoil/Chesapeake was a week or two behind Shell, with Anglo American coming in fourth.

When, towards the end of last year, the Sasol consortium made an application for a full exploration right, it was aware that Shell had lodged a prior application ahead of it for much of the area that it was applying for, and that it was likely not to get all it wanted.

In fact, Mining Weekly Online understands that, by the time Petroleum Agency SA had processed Shell's application, there was nothing left for Sasol, which is why Sasol is now having to contend with the outer, more distal part of the Karoo Basin.

Falcon got what it asked for; Shell wanted that as well, but was too late, which is why the area that Shell was granted in December has an east-west window cut in it, which is where Falcon's area is.

In a nutshell, the main core has gone to Falcon and Shell; the Sasol/Statoil/Chesapeake consortium is having to be content with the periphery, and what is left for Anglo is only a fraction of what it applied for, and Anglo will probably end up with a TCP for only about 10 000 km2.


Read the full Article on MiningWeekly.com