South Africa seeks input on fracking
South African government on July 13 said that the proposed regulations pertaining to the exploration and production of onshore oil and gas requiring hydraulic fracturing have been published for public consultation.
"Also publishing for consultation is the intention to prescribe minimum requirements for the submission of applications for authorisation, right, permit or licence for the onshore exploration of oil and gas intending to utilise hydraulic fracturing," South Africa's department of forestry, fisheries and the environment said.
The publication of the proposed regulations comes four years after the Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Production that were intended to set standards for the use of hydraulic fracturing technology on the basis that they were managing environmental impacts and only the minister responsible for the environment was empowered to make regulations on environmental matters.
The regulations identify prohibited activities and prohibited geographic areas for the use of hydraulic fracturing technology, which include the use of potable water for hydraulic fracturing activities and the use of municipal water treatment facilities for the disposal of wastes from hydraulic fracturing operations.
In addition, an environmental authorisation is required for each phase of the process including seismic survey without hydraulic fracturing, hydraulic fracturing and the production phase. This step-wise approach allows for information to be generated to support each phase of the process and will facilitate the consideration of cumulative impacts of the operation, the department said.
The hydraulic fracturing regulation will be supported by two minimum information requirements (MIR). The first document will consider the environmental requirements for exploration anticipating the use of hydraulic fracturing and the second will consider the environmental requirements for exploration and production utilising hydraulic fracturing technology.
The first MIR “The Minimum Requirements for the Submission of Applications for an Authorisation, Right, Permit or Licence for the Onshore Exploration of Oil and Gas Intending to Utilise Hydraulic Fracturing, Revision May 2022”, has been developed and is available for public comment.
A second MIR document dealing with the actual impacts of hydraulic fracturing entitled “The Minimum Information Requirement for the Submission of Applications for the Authorisation, Right, Permit or Licence for Onshore Exploration and Production of Oil and Gas Utilising Hydraulic Fracturing” will be prepared in the near future.