Hydraulic fracturing drilling. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Large reserves of shale gas have been identified in the Karoo basin which alone could provide up to 4% of additional electricity requirements with no need for pipelines‚ World Energy Council report says.. Picture: THINKSTOCK

SA HAS the potential to become a major producer of unconventional gas‚ according to a new World Energy Council report launched at the Africa Gas Forum in Johannesburg.

The report states that the growth of unconventional gas — including shale gas — is spreading across the world with major implications over many years for markets and prices.

Large reserves of shale gas have been identified in the Karoo basin which alone could provide up to 4% of additional electricity requirements with no need for pipelines‚ it says.

To take advantage of these opportunities‚ the study says SA needs to take three key actions: plan infrastructure and ensure water management is taken into account; build local expertise; and provide financial incentives such as tax incentives.

Secretary-general of the World Energy Council Christoph Frei said the spread of unconventional gas was being accelerated because it could make gas more affordable to consumers and reduce concerns about security of supply.

"SA has the potential to become a major unconventional gas producer and should persevere despite the current low prices since gas is a long-term game. If SA invests in its infrastructure and develops local expertise that creates an enabling framework‚ then investment will follow and it can realise its full unconventional gas potential‚" he said.