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Western Cape Business 2022

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VIEW INTERVIEW A study

VIEW INTERVIEW A study on gas potential in the Karoo has been completed ding new ways of ucing and reusing carbon Council for Geoscience CEO Mosa Mabuza believes that shale gas could have a huge impact on the national fiscus and that the marine economy holds great potential. What is the status of the exploration for gas in the Karoo? il for Geoscience CEO, Mosa Mabuza, is excited about new research on The geo-environmental baseline study for gas in Beaufort n capture and is intent on expanding West his has organisation’s been completed and relevance the report is to being the written. We African economy. had a plan to drill up to 3 500m but we reached technical limits at 2 978m. We intercepted a huge white hill formation which is the shale horizon that contains shale gas. Shale is How will the Council a geological for Geoscience formation and (CGS) in that carbon there capture is gas. Methane and the is present and other forms of gas as well. We have taken a lot of storage project in Mpumalanga expand South Africa’s energy mix and samples and they are being analysed. decrease the country’s It is important carbon to footprint? note that ours was an environmental baseline We abbreviated study, the not project an economic to CCUS: model. Carbon You can’t Capture do an economic for the model two Cs, from U for utilisation, storage one hole as but the you last can stage. extract Once information. the carbon It will is give captured you an idea it has of numerous applications. what is there, Not so only this will would be taken you to be cabinet able to in the reduce course the of carbon 2022. content that is emitted into our climate, but you can also apply it in fertiliser manufacturing What and in is a the number background of other to applications. this study? Mosa Mabuza, CEO We see it as In a scientific the 1960s intervention Soekor (the that government-owned gets us as a country exploration to breathe company) drilled a number of boreholes but they were looking life into the climate mitigation measures, in terms of the international for oil, not gas. They took samples for storage to the Council for climate protocol Geoscience that we and have we committed have kept them to. very If the well. science We were is visited proven, by not only will South an energy Africa geologist meet but from it the will US go just far before beyond 2010 the who minimum had a look commitments that these we rocks have and made he was a country. very excited. The president announced BIOGRAPHY But we’ve got at the to State let the of the science Nation take address place, in 2010 we’ve that got shale to gas let the may pilot be a project prove that game-changer indeed, it for is a South sensible Africa. scientific intervention, that the After qualifying as a geologist from economics make We sense, received that applications science and from the the intentions big gas are companies met. Only but Wits University, Mosa held various society revolted. “Don’t frack in my backyard.” At the time I was positions at De Beers and once Anglo we have proven all of those three attributes, would we be confident in the Department of Mineral Resources responsible for policy abuza, CEO American and worked in enough jurisdictions as varied as West Africa then and coal can continue to play a critical role in our energy mix. to say that, indeed, we can continue. We think that, if it is proven, formulation. We started engaging with these communities and the then minister placed a moratorium on processing of those Canada. From his appointment as applications and instituted a team of technocrats including the Director of Mineral Economics Is this pilot at one CGS, site PASA, or CSIR, is it multiple the Department sites? of Science and Technology in the former Department The of Minerals and Energy, he was promoted emission to sites environmental in Mpumalanga affairs. where Our brief there was is to a higher engage concentration with communities. of first one is on at the one time site. and We departments have chosen responsible a pilot very for close water, to energy the major and APHY Deputy Director-General of power Mineral stations, as I led well that as process, the Sasol and we plant. engaged If we with get community that right members we can Policies and (Investment) Promotion have our contribution across many to areas carbon in the pollution Karoo. The reduced biggest by concern between then 60% was ying as a geologist in 2012. from He has Wits been CEO and of CGS 80%. that the decision was being taken without a scientific base. I said, Mosa held since various 2017. positions “Good shot.” We went back to the minister and said we think that s and Anglo American and What are the other priorities of the CGS in Mpumalanga? jurisdictions WESTERN as varied CAPE as BUSINESS The 2022 CGS mandate is that 30 we are the custodians of geoscientific information a and Canada. From his ent as the Director of Mineral and knowledge in the country so we have quite a number of programmes in Mpumalanga. One of them which is really very exciting and is at an advanced

you will gain trust if you remove the politics and invest in the science to do the research. People were concerned about water safety, a legitimate concern. The second concern was environmental pollution: what measures are you going to put in place to secure the environment? We could not provide answers at that time. While we were busy developing regulations based on other jurisdictions that were extracting shale gas as a benchmark, we did not have anything that was specific to South Africa, so the CGS was tasked to do this environmental baseline study. We needed to characterise shallow groundwater and establish what it would take to protect the water in those aquifers in the event that we were to proceed with shale gas extraction. We now have an answer to that question. The second question was, do we have gas? We have got gas. How much is still to be determined. Do you have an idea of the volume? If you look at our balance of payments, I think the largest chunk of it is the importation of crude oil. If we have the amount of shale gas that we think we have, this may have a huge impact on our national fiscus. Mossgas was opened on a motivation of one trillion cubic feet. The original projections in the Karoo were that we have 490tcf, a figure in which I don’t have much confidence. But even if we had 20tcf, can you imagine what impact that would have? What new projects is CGS involved in? There was a huge excitement around 2013/14 with announcements being made around Operation Phakisa and the Blue Economy. This opened our eyes to a whole frontier economy right under our noses which we have not exploited optimally. There is some fishing, we have our ports and there was some excitement around petroleum exploration recently, but we have not even begun to look at the marine prospects. There is limited geological information so we have put together a very aggressive plan to map offshore. We have struck a partnership with the navy so that we can have a collaboration to leverage their vessels to fast-track the mapping. While they are moving around doing their work our gadgets Drilling for information near Beaufort West. A geoenvironmental baseline study for gas in the Karoo has been completed and the report is being compiled. will be mounted on their boats. That will help us to accelerate the mapping and help us to catch up. And you have your own vessel? We have recently launched one, but it is a small one that is only to do work near-shore in the interim. We have named it RV Nkosi after a world-class mineral separation technician who worked for CGS and who passed away in 2019. Research Vessel (R/V) Nkosi. Our team has been collecting data and this year’s weather has been much better than last year. I am comfortable with how it is going. Are there other projects relevant to the Western Cape? We are looking at numerous things, including geotourism. There is outstanding geoscience here. Our 31 WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2022

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