Concerns over ‘insanity’ of Shell South Africa fracking plans –

Concerns over ‘insanity’ of Shell South Africa fracking plans –

ALL THE ‘FRACKING’ FACTS @ SCIFEST AFRICA 2011 | Grocott’s Mail Online | Grahamstown News

ALL THE ‘FRACKING’ FACTS @ SCIFEST AFRICA 2011 | Grocott’s Mail Online | Grahamstown News.

08/05/2011 15:30



APRIL 2011


Blurb: The definitive scientific facts about fracking are just one in a series of public lectures by South African and international scientists at Scifest Africa this year!

Body Copy:

With the fracas around proposed fracking in the Karoo reaching fever pitch, those for and against are both vocally expressing their opinion! Soon though at Scifest Africa in Grahamstown from 4 – 10 May 2011, one of the world’s leading scientific specialists on the subject will present the full “fracking” facts – as part of a fascinating lecture series by globally acknowledged authorities on various subjects at Scifest Africa this year.

Proff. Anthony Ingraffea, from Cornell University in the USA is just one of almost twenty worldwide experts on the Scifest public lecture programme. But what makes his presentation so special is not just that fracking is such a topical and hotly debated issue right now. Proff. Ingraffea will be the first person ever to give a Skype-facilitated public lecture in the fifteen year history of Scifest! And it promises to be a spectacular eye-opener, because of Proff. Ingraffea’s world renowned expertise!

Indeed, for many South Africans fracking is a recent discovery; and most of us had no idea what it was until its relatively recent arrival on news reports and in public debates. Officially known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking is used to access shale gas reserves locked in underground rock formations. This is done by drilling deepboreholes and injecting a chemical cocktail of water, sand and chemicals at extremely high pressure to crack open the rocks and release the gas.

One environmental report claims that “fracking could permanently damage the Karoo environment, cause catastrophic drinking water pollution and air pollution, be a health concern for humans and animals and cause general environmental degradation”. On the other hand, those for fracking claim that it will create jobs and that the environmental threat is ‘manageable’, albeit not guaranteed as absent.  Ultimately however, a definitive scientific answer is needed to debunk the myths and fully explore the fracking facts. Proff. Ingraffea’s lecture promises to do just that!

Proff. Ingraffea is a multi-award-winning Professor of Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University and a leading authority figure on the physical effects of fracking. His research concentrates on computer simulation and physical testing of complex fracturing processes; and with his students he also completed pioneering research in the use of interactive computer graphics in computational fracture mechanics.  Now, with Proff. Ingraffea’s public lecture, South Africans who are perplexed about what to believe about fracking will have direct access to a seminal presentation on the issue – whose content stems from decades of research data, intricate computer modelling and scientific insights on the subject. And it’s only happening at Scifest Africa 2011.

Proff. Ingraffea’s lecture “The Fracking Facts” will take place at 15h30 on Sunday 8 May 2011, but there are another eighteen lectures by worldwide authorities on a variety of topics throughout the week-long Scifest Africa schedule. And this public lecture series is just one of countless events, activities and exhibitions at Scifest this year – celebrating its 15th anniversary with the most comprehensive programme ever for visitors of all ages – with SASOL, Old Mutual, the Netherlands Embassy and Department of Science and Technology as sponsors!

The full programme is available on and direct telephonic contact can be made on (046)603 1106 for all bookings. Be there and find out exactly what the fracking facts are for yourself!

Royal Dutch Shell really wants to frack up the Karoo

The Daily Maverick :: Royal Dutch Shell really wants to frack up the Karoo.  Feb 8, 2011

Shell to explore for gas in the Karoo, why Johan Rupert has some concerns.

Shell to explore for gas in the Karoo, why Johan Rupert has some concerns.


ALEC HOGG: It’s Wednesday February 2 2011 and in this special podcast we speak with the chairman of Richemont, Johan Rupert, not about Richemont’s issues but more about what is going on in the Karoo. Johan, your family, in fact, has deep roots into the Karoo, looking through your father’s biography by Ebbe Dommisse, your great, great grandfather came to South Africa in 1858 to a town called Graaff-Reinet and on Friday, Graaff-Reinet was the scene of a discussion or a public meeting that you said some stuff that has been shaking up the oil industry.

JOHANN RUPERT: Good afternoon Alec, good afternoon, listeners. It’s really the whole question of drilling for gas through the Greater Karoo, over 90 000 square kilometers and the method in which the oil companies wish to operate. We’re not against looking for gas, we are not against the methodology if used in the right area, with the right safeguards. So, for instance, if you go into the desert and it’s shallow, there can be containment. What worries us is the unseemly haste with which this whole process is going forward. We don’t think the legal framework was designed for this fracking method and we are very, very scared about the irreversibility of the ecological damage, should it occur.