Do we need a fracking future? #frackingSA video doccie is now online.

My fracking doccie is now online. Do we need a fracking future? a CNBC Africa special in association with Forbes Africa Magazine

 

The video covers the  information regarding the Fracking issue in the Karoo, South Africa and was first broadcast on 16 October 2014. Filming and interviews were done around September 2014.

In part one, I looked at the people who are standing against it and their reasons why they think it will destroy their livelihoods.

Part two looks at the other side of fracking, the industrial and economical benefits it could bring, as well as addressing some more views on fracking as a mining process.

Hope this helps to create a platform for debate and raise awareness (both for the proposed benefits and costs if could bring for South Africa)

For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison

 

Fracking could be the $100-billion energy game changer that Africa needs at the risk of destroying this land. It’s has sparked conflict before a drill has touched the earth.

Fracking could be the $100-billion energy game changer that Africa needs at the risk of destroying this land. It’s has sparked conflict before a drill has touched the earth.

Advertisements

Officially a “The Other Hundred Winner” — Jay Caboz #photographer Forbes Africa Magazine

It is with great pleasure that I can announce I am one of the “The Other Hundred” winners.  My entry — The Tablets Curing Rural Education was published in the Forbes Africa May 2014 Edition.

IMG_5805

In a rural school that has seen better days, seven-year-olds are now learning on innovative tablets. This is the $6-million brainchild of Mark Bennett who wants Zambia to embrace education-based technology at a grassroots level.

I was very fortunate to visit one of the schools where they are using the tablets in Zambia. Amazing to see in a place with no electricity children working on these things.

More of the story in Forbes Africa May 2014 edition. You can also see it featured in the top images of the month.

Updates - Summary Box

 

The Other Hundred — focuses on stories that capture the entrepreneurial spirit of people can be when it comes to taking control of their lives.

From their Website: The Other Hundred is a unique not-for-profit photo-book initiated by the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT) aimed at providing a counterpoint to the mainstream media consensus about some of today’s most important issues.

At its heart, The Other Hundred is an attempt to introduce readers to the vast majority of people, ideas, places and cultures simply ignored by most major media publications. Whether it is an excessive focus on extremes of wealth or poverty, the obsession with whatever is dominating the current news cycle or the pushing of a particular political agenda, mainstream news no longer accurately reflects the experience of most people around the world.

Through an annual series of books, each focusing on a particular issue or subject, The Other Hundred will provide an alternative and refreshing view on everything from people and their homes to performers, chefs and authors.

 

Fighting the good fight against Fracking in South Africa — Jay Caboz #frackingSA

Dickie Ogilvie

Dickie Ogilvie

 

Tv interview on CNBC Africa — Should Fracking Proceed in the Karoo

Published CNBCAfrica.com – Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue

 

In a year, the fighting fund for farmers in the Karoo has swollen. A sure sign that the gloves are off.

Published CNBCAfrica.com

Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue

Like his fellow 3,000 farmers, Dickie Ogilvie won’t let fracking vie without a fight. Ogilvie gave up teaching to help his wife, Colleen, take over her brother’s farm, Doorndraai, 100 kilometers south west of Graaff Reinet. His fears have led him to pledge R3 for every hectare on his 14,000 hectare farm to fight fracking in court. Most farmers across the Karoo are as trenchant as him.

“Some guys have given a lump sum payment. Most of the other moneys are per hectare basis, the pledge varies from R1 a hectare to R10 ($1), depending how strongly a farmer feels.  There is a lot of money to fight this if it goes to litigation process. Farmers have realized now how serious this can be,” says Ogilvie.

“Our resolution from the Aberdeen district is dire. I don’t believe they understand that if something goes wrong the Karoo is finished. You cannot rectify the water contamination, once it’s been contaminated it’s over, we will have to move off. It’s not only farms; the towns rely on underground water. My small little family can make a plan, but we are talking about whole communities in towns. It’s a huge problem, no answers are given, there is so much uncertainty.”

The Legal Battle

Derek Light

Derek Light

The fierce litigation between big business and the Karoo’s landowners has been brewing since 2009, when fracking(insert hyperlink video graphic of what is fracking) explorations were stopped in their tracks by the government to allow for regulations.  Landowners locked horns with government over the lack of consultation and what they call flawed laws and uninformed environmental assessments.

Their lobbying has seen some results, says Derek Light, the small-town lawyer from Graaff Reinet. The small offices he works in have been consumed by fracking for three years. Light even took a cell phone when he went for hip surgery so he wouldn’t miss anything. He represents hundreds of landowners, including millionaire Johann Rupert, the second richest man in Africa, who lives around the corner.

In September, four years after the first applications were submitted, baseline water testing began. The study, researched by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and financed by the Eastern Cape provincial government, looks at the Karoo’s underground water system.

“Baseline testing is not done overnight, it’s a long process that takes two to three years. The timing of it has been poor, and it is something the oil companies should have done in their environmental management plan process, which they failed to do. It’s now being done by the taxpayer. The government should have had this information at their disposal when they first made their decisions on the whole process,” says Light.

He adds that the government jumped the gun. Drafts, issued in March and October 2013, were incredibly flawed and focused on regulating fracking while forgetting about the mining operations around it, says Light.

“Drilling in South Africa is not regulated at all. Shell and other companies feed off the fact that there are few documented cases of contamination from the actual fracking process. Because the wealth of contamination comes from the other process, you can’t divorce the one from the other. It’s shifting the emphasis on the height of the fracking process. It means the attention is taken away from the other harmful processes.”

Fighting All the Way

Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)

Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)

Another loud and stringent voice against fracking is that of Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG). Strangely enough, he didn’t know about fracking until he read a news article in 2011 when Rupert was speaking out against it.

“I began to investigate and attended the Shell public meetings. It was very clear for me, with my corporate background, that Shell was trying to control the meetings. There was a very specific aim in those meetings and it wasn’t to tell the truth as far as I was concerned,” says Deal.

From his 40,000-hectare Eco-farm near Montagu, in the Karoo, Deal has been calling on the Presidency, the Public Protector and gas companies to revise their actions before fracking takes place. He’s not alone; Julius Kleynhans, the Head of Environmental Affairs at the NGO AfriForum, has declared it will back TKAG financially should it go to court.

“It is the balance of convenience. If companies and the state have invested enormous amounts of money and the public sits and watches what happens and wait for everything to be built and then goes and complains. It’s very difficult for a court to literally throw its investments away.”

“If something goes wrong with a fracking well ten years later and those chemicals migrate 30 kilometers away, even if a farmer ends up with polluted water, what chance has he got of proving that it was from that well… if people get sick from air and water pollution, like what is being happening in the United States, who is going to pay for it? The state is; the people who pay tax. Not the companies that have shut down their operations when they have moved on somewhere else,” says Deal.

It’s not just a Karoo problem, says Deal.

“If fracking starts in this country and the gas reserves are there. We will see the technology of fracking march across this country just like it did in the United States. Geologically speaking the Karoo basin is where the gas bearing shale is thought to reside, and that extends right into Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga. In fact it extends out of the northern borders of South Africa,” says Deal.

Despite plans to halt shale gas explorations until proper research is completed, the government remains adamant it will go ahead and be a game changer.

“New regulations should be released in September, but we don’t yet know what they contain. All of this has happened without consultation. It seems what will happen are inadequate regulations will be passed, with inadequate consultation. We are then faced with serious decisions where we go from there. If the regulations are unlawful, that may have to be challenged in the Constitutional Court. It seems, from the ministers announcements, hot off the heels of the new regulations will be the issuing of licenses which seems to indicate government has already taken a decision on those, which should not be granted because they don’t comply with the new laws,” says Light.

The Lifeline

The impact of exploration could be catastrophic, says Deal, especially since companies refuse to disclose the chemical composition of the additives. Chemical additives make up 1% of the 20 million liters used for a well. On one pad there can be 32 wells.

“With exploration, the same risks are there, they have to frack to see if it’s there. Don’t come to this country and look for secrecy privileges. Don’t come and try hide behind commercial interests to hide the mix of chemicals, this is not America,” says Deal.

“The minute these licenses are issued, these corporates are going to carry on with what they want to do anyway. It’s going to be challenged. People are well aware of it. The minute those licenses are issued, they will be challenged,” says Ogilvie.

Landowners seem to be putting their money where their mouth is. One wonders what people across Africa, who don’t have money will do.

 

For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison

 

 

The Karoo

Who said fracking was bad? — Jay Caboz #frackingSA

IMG_2136

Independent geologist, Wlady Altermann, believes that the fears of fracking are full of hot air.

 

Published CNBCAfrica.com —Who said Fracking was Bad?

Tv interview on CNBC Africa — Should Fracking Proceed in the Karoo

 

Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue

IMG_7930

Wlady Altermann

Imagine a rock with thousands of pockets. Then imagine you have to drill, thousands of times, to release the gas from these pockets. This is what the Karoo looks like underground and the amount of drilling needed could make fracking costly, says Wlady Altermann, a geologist at the University of Pretoria.

(insert hyperlink vidoe graphic of what is fracking)

“All the knowledge of these compartments and the distribution of pockets are very poor. [The Karoo] would require a very good geophysical investigation. After that, the drill hole positions need to be drilled to investigate the properties of the rock, the stability of the composition and the wealth of the gas. Only after that, can a decision be made as to the wealth of the shale gas,” says Altermann.

The German- born professor knows a thing or two about rocks. Apart from studying them since he was a child, Altermann spent years studying rocks on Mars. Space travel was out of the question so Altermann flew across the globe and has been studying mineral deposits in South Africa since the 1980s.

Altermann, now the Kumba-Exxaro Chair in Geodynamics of Ore Deposits at the university, believes that fracking is harmless if it’s done properly.

“The misconceptions are basically based on poor information. It comes from the direct comparison with the United States, which I think is not comparable. Secondly, it comes from the perceptions that the surface and the shallow subsurface have something to do with shale gas deposits. Shale gas deposits are much deeper.”

Fracking is harmless

“The fracking itself is such a tiny part of the entire process itself. It’s not the dangerous part of the process. The dangerous part of the process is the later methods of production. Fracking itself, I think, it’s the wrong discussion,” says Altermann.

Water contamination by drilling through the Karoo’s aquifers, 300 meters below the surface, is also unlikely says Altermann, because the distance between the underground water and the shale gas is far.

“The shale in the United States is at much shallower levels. Between 1,000-1,500 meters. The deeper you go, the less the risk of contamination. The pressure in the ceiling holds the gas better. The chance to contaminate groundwater through that type of production is so low; you really must act like an idiot to do this. It’s not impossible but if it’s done properly, there’s no problem,” he says.

The fracking process has made significant technological steps since it began 70 years ago, says Altermann. Wells can be spaced further apart because drilling horizontally can stretch for 5 kilometers. Ten years ago, that same reach was a kilometer.

The Hidden Dangers

The risk lies with the waste after fracking. Companies in the US have been guilty of reusing this water to save costs, instead of disposing of it.

“This is what causes most of the problems. In other countries, it is forbidden, there are environmental laws. That should be avoided in South Africa as well, controlled in a way that you can be sure nothing happens,” says Altermann.

Natural gas is a greener fossil fuel than coal, says Altermann.

“South Africa’s energy demand is expected to increase by 60% up to 2050. Coal cannot supply it; if coal supplied it we would sit in darkness and not see our beautiful sunsets under the African sun. At today’s state of technology, the best way to mitigate climate change and CO2 emissions, the cheapest thing technically is to switch from coal to gas combustion. It reduces CO2 emissions by 50%. It’s a much more effective way of producing energy,” says Altermann.

“People talk about fracking and groundwater; no one realizes that actually in many areas where groundwater is scarce, where there is not enough water to supply the population, fracking is used to extract groundwater. They frack the rocks, the aquifer, without chemicals with just water and sand and crack the rocks, so that water can flow out the cracks easier. It is used by many countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to the professor, fracking could change the face of South Africa and not cause too much worry.

 

For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison

 

Robertsons

Last Gasp For Eden in the Karoo, South Africans against Fracking

IMG_2226

It could become a fragile Garden of Eden amid the rumble of trucks. Farmers have given land in the hope it will become a peaceful buffer against fracking.

Published CNBCAfrica.com

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Tv interview on CNBC Africa — Should Fracking Proceed in the Karoo

Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue

IMG_2922

Matthew Norval, the Director of the Conservation Programme at the Wilderness Foundation.

It’s a small corner of the Karoo: a corridor of private land that stretches 300,000 hectares from the Camdeboo National Park, in Graaff Reinet, east to the Mountain Zebra National Park. It took 66 farmers over three years to buy into this project that promises a Garden of Eden teeming with wildlife. It could become known as the last piece of untouched land in the Karoo if fracking begins.

“The first meeting in Graaff Reinet was a little tense. I think a lot of the landowners thought we were going to attempt a big land purchase and buy out hundreds of thousands of hectares. Also, I think they were a bit worried that we were going to tell them what they had to do on their own land. Once this was clarified, there was little problem,” says Matthew Norval, the Director of the Conservation Programme at the Wilderness Foundation.

The corridor project is the brainchild of Norval, in collaboration with South Africa National Parks (SANParks). He wants to create a reserve that will protect the land for generations.

“The farmers in this area have looked after the land for many generations, some of them are third and fourth generation. The reason you can build a natural corridor in that region is because the land has been so well looked after and is still in good condition and there is a strong affinity from the farmers who own that land,” says Norval.

The application is sitting with the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa.

(insert hyperlink vidoe graphic of what is fracking)

“Fracking raised its head at almost the same time we started working in that area. There is no doubt that it influenced the way we worked and the way some of the landowners decided how to collaborate with us. I think fracking hit a lot of the landowners, sort of right between the eyes. They suddenly realized that properties that had been in their families for generations were now under threat. It was possible their land would get damaged and their children or their children’s children wouldn’t be able to make a livelihood from farming. You have to bear in mind its prime natural rangeland grazing for sheep and cattle,” says Norval.

“I think it would be near impossible to rehabilitate the Karoo after fracking. In some areas, to a layman it may look like gravel plain. Somebody that doesn’t understand the intricacies of that ecosystem might just assume you can level it and there you go. But it’s not like that.”

“This is our last gasp. Never mind rhino, we’re losing lion; we’re losing pangolin by the ton. When it comes to land, the opportunity to build corridors and create landscapes that are going to have some relevance in the future, this is our last chance. ”

Over to the minister.

For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison

 

IMG_1870