South Africa to grant Karoo Basin exploration licence to Falcon Oil & Gas

Karoo BasinThe UK and Canada-listed explorer was granted a technical cooperation permit in 2009. (Image source: Tommaso Galli/Flickr)Falcon Oil & Gas has announced that it will soon be awarded shale gas exploration licence in South Africa’s Karoo Basin by Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA)

Falcon Oil & Gas was granted a technical cooperation permit (TCP) in 2009 covering 30,327 sq km in the southern part of the Karoo Basin. The TCP gives the company an exclusive right to an exploration licence to find commercial hydrocarbon deposits over all or part of this area.

The granting of the licence, however, was delayed to allow for appropriate regulation governing hydraulic fracturing to be put in place. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has estimated that the Karoo Basin contains 11 trillion cu/m of technically recoverable shale gas resources. In December 2012, Falcon Oil & Gas had announced a cooperation agreement with Chevron Business Development South Africa.

The agreement enables it to work exclusively with Chevron for a period of five years in jointly obtaining exploration licences.

In addition, the South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in October 2014 had informed that the government is soon expected to issue companies with licences to explore for shale gas.

Thibedi Ramontja, director general at DMR, said that it is anticipated that technical regulations pertaining to hydraulic fracturing would be gazetted by government at the end of January 2015, after a final round of public consultation.

Philip O’Quigley, CEO of Falcon Oil & Gas, added, “We are encouraged by these developments and will work to meet all the requirements set by the PASA. The 30,327 sq km in the Karoo Basin, for which Falcon Oil & Gas is seeking an exploration licence, is geologically prospective with the Whitehill shale believed to be thick, organically rich and thermally mature.”

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