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Pandor denies meeting Shell over Karoo gas exploration

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 08 Mar 2011
Title: Pandor denies meeting Shell over Karoo gas exploration
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By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria – Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has denied meeting with Shell South Africa vice President Bonang Mohale to discuss Shell’s proposed gas exploration in the Karoo.

Last week a media article claimed that the Chairperson and Vice President of Shell South Africa had said that “Shell was in regular communication with Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor”.

Ministerial spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said Pandor had never had any communication from Shell in this regard, and has never met Mohale to discuss the proposed project.

In a statement, Pandor said: “I am puzzled as to why Mohale, if the article is correct, would put out such a claim.”

The minister said she was intent on ensuring that South Africa won the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope (SKA), and was not going to entertain any matter that might distract her from achieving that goal.

Last week, the oil giant detailed its plans to explore natural gas in the Karoo basin. The company has already applied to Petroleum Agency South Africa for exploration rights in the south-western Karoo basin to assess viable, unconventional gas resources.

Shell has also appointed an independent consultancy to compile an environmental management programme.

Mohale said the exploration activities would include geophysical studies and data acquisition, the drilling of exploration wells with possible gas stimulation and flow testing.

The permit covers an area of approximately 185 000 km2. – BuaNews

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