What is the global Reception of fracking - CNBC Africa

What is the global Reception of fracking


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Doug Stern a farmer in the Karoo

In South Africa the debate is still in its infancy.

Fracking in Australia, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and the United States has provoked violence. In France it has been banned completely, Tunisia soon followed.  

One of  the most violent came in a small town in West Sussex, Balcombe in the United Kingdom. British oil and gas exploration firm Cuadrilla, built a test well to take samples of rock.

Protestors super glued themselves to fences.  The 1,000 protestors also up camp by the road barricades accessing the site. In August, police moved in to evict them reported to have cost tax payers £3.7 million.

In September, Cuadrilla announced it would suspend operations until a new planning application had been approved. Its drilling rig was moved to look for oil elsewhere. 

The drilling rig and associated equipment will be removed from site in September and testing equipment will not be mobilised to site until planning consent has been granted,” says  Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla in a statement.

On the other side of the coin, in North Dakota, United States, oil-fracking has been seen as a boon. From 2005 to 2011, it has helped. The state’s economy grew from $4.4 billion to $30,5 billion. Eight thousand wells, producing more than 820,000 barrels a day was just the start. These wells are expected to increase to 50,000.

Among the landowners of North Dakota 2,000 new millionaires are made every, according to Bruce Gjovic, founder of the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota. Oil royalties range from $50,000 to $100,000 a month.

The quest for oil has drawn in thousands from across America to towns like Watford City, which has grown from 1,700 to 10,000, according estimates in March. 

The fracking revolution has been bitter sweet for some. Many long-term, low income residents have been priced out of their homes with property rises.  The population boom has led to overused roads, polluted streams and created the worse sides of urbanization.

According to the Daily Mails Tom Leonard, there have been no signs of methane in neither the drinking water, nor earthquakes and no air pollution.

In South Africa, residents of the Karoo are the latest to join the battle. According to Julius Kleynhans, head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, the biggest problem is only 1 in 5 South Africans have heard about fracking

“At the moment the government is doing nothing. It’s refusing to address the public outcry. They are just power drilling their wants through,” he says.

“Why would they care, if the Karoo was contaminated. What they were told was the value of getting this energy game breaker gas was far more important than the value of the Karoo. The fact that the Eastern Cape has a third of the country’s livestock population, I cannot tell you how important this part of the country plays in production. We also produce more wool, mohair and ostriches than any other party in the country and twenty-fiver percent of the citrus in the country,” says Doug Stern

You can be sure this time next year many more Africans will know what fracking means and how it shake their lives.