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Karoo Fracking: Internal Shell communication

Shell SA Country Chairman and CEO Bonang Mohale’s internal communications message to his staff.

“Dear colleagues,

It is widely recognised that natural gas has a critical and positive role to play in meeting South Africa’s and the world’s growing demand for energy.

If successfully developed, natural gas could help to provide the country with a stable, alternative energy source for power generation that is 40% more energy-efficient and emits 50-70% less CO2 than coal.

During a recent first round of public consultations for our proposed Karoo gas exploration project, interested and affected parties were invited to submit comments, questions and concerns to the independent environmental consultant Golder Associates.

This feedback has been incorporated and addressed in a draft Environmental Management Programme (EMP) report. The report is now available for public review and can be downloaded from Golder’s website at http://www.golder.com/af/en/modules.php?name=Pages&sp_id=1236 .

Stakeholders have raised many concerns about the project, particularly around the process used to bring gas to the surface, known as hydraulic fracturing. Other issues raised relate to the chemicals used for this process, as well as the availability and sourcing of water for drilling, potential noise impacts and compensation for landowners.

We take these concerns very seriously and are making a number of public commitments to the people of the Karoo and indeed the country regarding this project.

First and foremost we will be open, honest and transparent about everything we plan to do in the Karoo.

To this end, we will disclose fracturing fluids that we intend using at each drilling location, and will consult with communities as part of the development of drilling plans.

We will not to compete with the people of the Karoo for their water needs. Nobody will go short of fresh water because of our operations either in the exploration phase, or if there is any further development.

We will create collaborative approaches with stakeholders, ensuring on-going community engagement, to understand and manage challenging issues such as water, land use, and others.

Shell will also provide full compensation to any landowner with documented direct negative impact or loss on their land as a result of our activities.

It is important to note that hydraulic fracturing is a well-established and key industry technology, which is safely conducted throughout the world in thousands of oil and gas wells every year. Without it, much of the world’s oil and gas resources could not be produced.

We acknowledge that the Karoo is a special place that needs to be respected, and commit to the sustainable development of gas resources – wherever they are found – if they can be recovered economically.

On 15 March we will commence a second round of public consultations for the Karoo project, which will continue for two weeks.  Following this, a final EMP will be submitted to the Petroleum Authority of South Africa (PASA) in mid-April.

PASA will circulate the EMP among various government departments for review and consideration. This process is expected to take 120 days, after which a decision on whether to grant Shell exploration licenses will be taken.

If we are successful, we will not start any operational activity like drilling or hydraulic fracturing operations without conducting environmental impact assessments, supported by additional independent studies. In conducting these assessments, we will again consult with the people in the Karoo.

Shell has been operating in South Africa for well over a century now and we are proud of the contribution we have made to the country’s development. We have a strong brand in this market and we will not do anything to jeopardise this.

I will continue to update you on the project through our various internal communications channels.  You can also read more about the project on the Shell South Africa intranet site at http://sww.shell.com/southafrica/upstream/ .

Best regards,

Bonang Mohale
Country Chairman
Vice President: SOPAF South”

SOURCE

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