Advertisement

Local Perceptions of Hydraulic Fracturing Ahead of Exploratory Drilling in Eastern South Africa

  • Devan Allen McGranahanEmail author
  • Kevin P. Kirkman
Article

Abstract

Applications for exploratory shale gas development via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) have raised concern about energy development impacts in South Africa. Initially, focus was on the arid Karoo, but interest now includes KwaZulu-Natal, a populous, agricultural province with high cultural, ecological, and economic diversity. We conducted focus groups and an online survey to determine how some South Africans perceive fracking. Focus group participants were unanimous in their opposition, primarily citing concerns over water quality and rural way-of-life. The survey confirmed broad consistency with focus group responses. When asked which provinces might be affected by fracking, KwaZulu-Natal ranked behind provinces in the Karoo, suggesting an awareness bias towards Karoo projects. Frequently-identified concerns regarding Agriculture and Natural Resources were Reduced quality of water, Negative impacts to ecosystems and natural biodiversity, Reduced quantity of water, and Pollution hazards. Frequent concerns regarding Social, Cultural, and Local Community issues were Impacts to human health, Visual/aesthetic degradation of tourism areas, Degradation of local infrastructure, and Physical degradation of tourism sites. Most survey respondents were pessimistic about potential benefits of fracking to South Africa’s domestic energy supply, and did not agree fracking would reduce negative impacts of coal mining or create jobs. Survey respondents were pessimistic about government’s preparedness for fracking and agreed fracking created opportunity for corruption. Many respondents agreed they would consider fracking when voting, and identified needs for more research on fracking in South Africa, which focused heavily on environmental impacts, especially water, in addition to the welfare of local citizens and their communities.

Keywords

Fracking in KwaZulu-Natal Energy and social science Sustainable energy development Unconventional natural gas in South Africa Veld management and the energy industry 

Notes

Acknowledgements

DAM recognises partial support for travel from the NDSU School for Natural Resource Sciences. We appreciate the assistance of several individuals and agriculture-related non-governmental organisations in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape; because many participated in the focus group discussions they helped us organise, they remain anonymous here for confidentiality purposes.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Academy of Science of South Africa (2016) South Africa’s technical readiness to support the shale gas industry. Tech. rep.Google Scholar
  2. Allred BW, Smith WK, Twidwell D, Haggerty JH, Running SW, Naugle DE, Fuhlendorf SD (2015) Ecosystem services lost to oil and gas in North America. Science 348(6233):401–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson BJ, Theodori GL (2009) Local leaders’ perceptions of energy development in the Barnett shale. South Rural Sociol 24(1):113–129Google Scholar
  4. Andreasson S (2018) The bubble that got away? Prospects for shale gas development in South Africa. The Extract Industr Soc 5:453–460.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.07.004
  5. Anonymous (2018) Shell pulls back from the Karoo. Herald Live. https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2018-04-11-shell-pulls-back-from-the-karoo/ Accessed 19 Apr 2018
  6. Avenant M, Watson M, Esterhuyse S, Seaman MT (2016) Potential impact of unconventional gas mining on surface water systems of the Karoo. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 222–243Google Scholar
  7. Bellos E (2018) Sustainable energy development: how can the tension between energy security and energy transition be measured and managed in South Africa? J Clean Prod 205:738–753.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.08.196 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapman G, Wait R, Kleynhans E (2016) The governance of shale gas production in South Africa. South Afr J Int Aff 23(1):69–88.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10220461.2015.1096211 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corrigan C, Murtazashvili I (2015) Governance of fracking in. Afr Gov Afr 2(1):4.  https://doi.org/10.5334/gia.aj CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Costa D, Jesus Ja, Branco D, Danko A, Fiúza A (2017) Extensive review of shale gas environmental impacts from scientific literature (2010–2015). Environ Sci Pollut Res 24(17):14579–14594.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8970-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cotton M, Charnley-Parry I (2018) Beyond opposition and acceptance: examining public perceptions of the environmental and health impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction. Curr Opin Environ Sci Health 3:8–13.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coesh.2018.01.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Currie J, Greenstone M, Meckel K (2017) Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: new evidence from Pennsylvania. Sci Adv 3(12):e1603021.  https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1603021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dabrowski JM, Ashton PJ, Murray K, Leaner JJ, Mason RP (2008) Anthropogenic mercury emissions in South Africa: coal combustion in power plants. Atmos Environ 42(27):6620–6626.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.04.032 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daigh AL, Klaustermeier AW (2016) Approaching brine spill remediation from the surface: a new in situ method. Agric & Environ Lett 1(1):4pp.  https://doi.org/10.2134/ael2015.12.0013 Google Scholar
  15. du Plessis A (2016) The governance of hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo: a local government perspective. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: Critical Legal and Environmental Perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 118–141Google Scholar
  16. du Toit L (2016) Experiences from other jurisdications. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: Critical Legal and Environmental Perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 14–33Google Scholar
  17. Ellis C, Theodori GL, Petrzelka P, Jackson-Smith D, Luloff A (2016) Unconventional risks: the experience of acute energy development in the Eagle Ford Shale. Energy Res Social Sci 20:91–98.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2016.05.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Esterhuyse S, Avenant M, Redelinghuys N, Kijko A, Glazewski J, Plit L, Kemp M, Smit A, Vos AT, Williamson R (2016a) A review of biophysical and socio-economic effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction–Implications for South Africa. J Environ Manag 184:419–430.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.09.065 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Esterhuyse S, de Lange F, Glazewski J (2016b) Potential impact of unconventional oil and gas extraction on Karoo aquifers. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: Critical Legal and Environmental Perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 206–221Google Scholar
  20. Evensen D (2016) Ethics and ‘fracking’: a review of (the limited) moral thought on shale gas development. Wiley Interdiscip Rev 3(4):575–586.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1152 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Evensen D (2018) Yet more ‘fracking’ social science: an overview of unconventional hydrocarbon development globally. Extract Industr Soc 5:417–421.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.10.010
  22. Fernando FN, Cooley DR (2015) An Oil Boom’s Effect on Quality of Life (QoL): Lessons from Western North Dakota. Appl Res Qual Life 11(4):1083–1115.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-015-9422-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Forrest K, Loate L (2018) Power and accumulation coal mining, water and regulatory failure. Extract Industr Soc 5:154–164.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2017.12.007
  24. Gallegos TJ, Varela BA, Haines SS, Engle MA (2015) Hydraulic fracturing water use variability in the United States and potential environmental implications. Water Resour Res 51(7):5839–5845.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2015WR017278 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ghoorah D, Makina A (2014) South African renewable energy investment barriers: an investor perspective. J Energy South Afr 25(2):13Google Scholar
  26. Glazewski J (2016) The constitutional and legal framework. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 34–56Google Scholar
  27. Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) (2016a) Hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  28. Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (2016b) Introduction: setting the scene. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 1–13Google Scholar
  29. Goldthau A (2016) Conceptualizing the above ground factors in shale gas: toward a research agenda on regulatory governance. Energy Res Social Sci 20:73–81.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2016.05.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Graham J, Irving J, Tang X, Sellers S, Crisp J, Horwitz D, Muehlenbachs L, Krupnick A, Carey D (2015) Increased traffic accident rates associated with shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Accid Anal Prev 74:203–209.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2014.11.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grubert E (2018) The Eagle Ford and Bakken shale regions of the United States: a comparative case study. Extract Industr Soc 5:570–580.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.09.011
  32. Haggerty JH, Smith KK, Weigle J, Kelsey TW, Walsh KB, Coupal R, Kay D, Lachapelle P (2019) Tradeoffs, balancing, and adaptation in the agriculture-oil and gas nexus: Insights from farmers and ranchers in the United States. Energy Res Social Sci 47:84–92.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.08.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hedden S, Moyer JD, Rettig J (2013) Fracking for shale gas in South Africa: blessing or curse? Inst Secur Stud Pap 2013(9):12Google Scholar
  34. Holland M (2017) Health impacts of coal fired power plants in South Africa. Techical Report. Ground Work South Africa, PietermaritzburgGoogle Scholar
  35. Huang R (2017) RQDA: R-based Qualitative Data AnalysisGoogle Scholar
  36. Humby TL (2015) One environmental system: aligning the laws on the environmental management of mining in South Africa. J Energy Nat Resour Law 33(2):110–130.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02646811.2015.1022432 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. IHS Global Insight (2010) Fueling North America’s Energy Future: the unconventional natural gas revolution and the carbon agenda. An IHS CERA Special Report, Cambridge, USAGoogle Scholar
  38. Jackson RB, Vengosh A, Carey JW, Davies RJ, Darrah TH, O’Sullivan F, Pétron G (2014) The Environmental Costs and Benefits of Fracking. Annu Rev Environ Resour 39(1):327–362.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-031113-144051 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jackson RB, Vengosh A, Darrah TH, Warner NR, Down A, Poreda RJ, Osborn SG, Zhao K, Karr JD (2013) Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110(28):11250–11255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. de Kock MO, Beukes NJ, Adeniyi EO, Cole DI, Götz AE, Geel C, Ossa FG (2017) Deflating the shale gas potential of South Africa’s Main Karoo basin. S Afr J Sci 113(9/10):12pp.  https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2017/20160331 Google Scholar
  41. Konigsberg E (2011) Kuwait on the Prairie. The New Yorker. Condé Nast: New York, NY. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/25/kuwait-on-the-prairie. Accessed 6 May 2018
  42. Korfmacher KS, Jones WA, Malone SL, Vinci LF (2013) Public health and high volume hydraulic fracturing. NEW SOLUTIONS: A. J Environ Occup Health Policy 23(1):13–31.  https://doi.org/10.2190/NS.23.1.c Google Scholar
  43. Leonard L (2017) Examining environmental impact assessments and participation: the case of mining development in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, South Africa. J Environ Assess Policy Manag 19(01):1750002.  https://doi.org/10.1142/S1464333217500028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lewis A, Mcmichael L, Glazewski J (2016) Water quality, fracking fluids and legal disclosure. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic fracturing in the karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 245–263Google Scholar
  45. Litzow E, Neville KJ, Johnson-King B, Weinthal E (2018) Why does industry structure matter for unconventional oil and gas development? Examining revenue sharing outcomes in North Dakota. Energy Res Social Sci 44:371–384.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2018.05.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McGranahan DA, Fernando FN, Kirkwood ML (2017) Reflections on a boom: perceptions of energy development impacts in the Bakken oil patch inform environmental science & policy priorities. Sci Total Environ 599-600:1993–2018.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McLaughlin DM, Cutts BB (2018) Neither knowledge deficit nor NIMBY: understanding Opposition to Hydraulic Fracturing as a Nuanced Coalition in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (USA). Environ Manage 62(2):305–322.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1052-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Meng Q (2015) Spatial analysis of environment and population at risk of natural gas fracking in the state of Pennsylvania, USA. Sci Total Environ 515-516:198–206.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Menzel U (2013) Package’EMT’: exact multinomial test: goodness-of-fit test for discrete multivariate data. R package version 1Google Scholar
  50. Merrill TW (2013) Four questions about fracking. Case West Reserve Law Rev 63(4):971–993Google Scholar
  51. News24 (2013) Fracking a game changer for Karoo-Zuma. https://www.news24.com/Green/Fracking-a-game-changer-for-Karoo-Zuma-20131129
  52. Nicot JP, Scanlon BR (2012) Water Use for Shale-Gas Production in Texas, U.S. Environ Sci Technol 46(6):3580–3586.  https://doi.org/10.1021/es204602t CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Oellermann IC (2016) Victory for farmers. The Witness. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/victory-for-farmers-20161107. Accessed 16 June 2018
  54. Osborn SG, Vengosh A, Warner NR, Jackson RB (2011) Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108(20):8172–8176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pegels A (2010) Renewable energy in South Africa: Potentials, barriers and options for support. Energy Policy 38(9):4945–4954.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.03.077 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Plit L (2016) Regulating petroleum extraction: the provisions of the mineral and petroleum resources development Act 28 of 2002. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: Critical Legal and Environmental Perspectives, Juta, Claremont, South Africa. 57–85Google Scholar
  57. R Core Team (2017) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical ComputingGoogle Scholar
  58. Ridl J, Couzens E (2010) Misplacing NEMA? A consideration of some problematic aspects of South Africa’s new EIA Regulations. PER: Potchefstroom Elektron Regsblad 13(5):80–121Google Scholar
  59. Rowsell D, Connan J (1979) Oil generation, migration and preservation in the Middle Ecca sequence near Dannhauser and Wakkerstroom. Spec Publ Geol Soc South Afr 6:131–150Google Scholar
  60. Rudman J, Gauché P, Esler KJ (2017) Direct environmental impacts of solar power in two arid biomes: An initial investigation. S Afr J Sci 113(11-12):1–13Google Scholar
  61. Scholes B, Lochner PA, Schreiner G, De Jager M (2016) Shale gas development in the Central Karoo: A scientific assessment of the opportunities and risks. Techical Report. CSIR/IU/021MH/EXP/2016/003. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Stellenbosch, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  62. Scholvin S (2014) South Africa’s energy policy: constrained by nature and path dependency. J South Afr Stud 40(1):185–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sebitosi A, Pillay P (2008) Grappling with a half-hearted policy: the case of renewable energy and the environment in South Africa. Energy Policy 36(7):2513–2516.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2008.03.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Timilsina GR, Kurdgelashvili L, Narbel PA (2012) Solar energy: markets, economics and policies. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16(1):449–465.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2011.08.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vengosh A, Jackson RB, Warner N, Darrah TH, Kondash A (2014) A critical review of the risks to water resources from unconventional shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing in the United States. Environ Sci Technol 48(15):8334–8348.  https://doi.org/10.1021/es405118y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wakeford J (2016) The South African energy context. In: Glazewski J, Esterhuyse S (eds) Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo: critical legal and environmental perspectives. Juta, Claremont, South Africa, p 142–163Google Scholar
  67. Weber BA, Geigle J, Barkdull C (2014) Rural North Dakota’s oil boom and its impact on social services. Soc Work 59(1):62–72.  https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swt068 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Weijermars R, Drijkoningen G, Heimovaara T, Rudolph E, Weltje G, Wolf K (2011) Unconventional gas research initiative for clean energy transition in Europe. J Nat Gas Sci Eng 3(2):402–412.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2011.04.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Werner AK, Vink S, Watt K, Jagals P (2015) Environmental Health Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development: a review of the current strength of evidence. Sci Total Environ 505:1127–1141.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.084 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Willems M, Dalvie MA, London L, Rother HA (2016) Health risk perception related to fracking in the Karoo, South Africa. Environ Pract 18(1):53–68.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1466046615000460 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zou C, Zhao Q, Dong D, Yang Z, Qiu Z, Liang F, Wang N, Huang Y, Duan A, Zhang Q, Hu Z (2017) Geological characteristics, main challenges and future prospect of shale gas. J Nat Gas Geosci 2(5-6):273–288.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnggs.2017.11.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Resource Sciences–Range Science ProgramNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.Grassland Science, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations