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Report: Development of an Interactive Vulnerability Map and Monitoring Framework to Assess the Potential Environmental Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction by Means of Hydraulic Fracturing

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Abstract

The main aims of this study was to investigate hydraulic fracturing by performing a background review; developing an interactive vulnerability map; and developing a provisional screening level monitoring protocol. This study aimed to contribute knowledge on issues associated with hydraulic fracturing and highlight vulnerable areas for specific aspects in South Africa. It also proposes a provisional screening level monitoring protocol that can be used as a guideline to monitor unconventional gas extraction activities. In South Africa, where water demand will exceed water supply in the near future, unsustainable use of water resources will result in increasingly limited water resources for future health and well-being as well as for sustained socio-economic development. Society in general, and specifically the residents in the Karoo where access to water is already limited, needs to be assured of the sustainable use of the water resources for health and well-being by understanding and where possible avoiding the negative social impacts resulting from unconventional gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing. The interactive vulnerability map that was developed during this project, focuses on specific aspects, which include surface water, groundwater, vegetation, seismicity and socio-economics, and was developed specifically for South Africa. The vulnerability map aims to provide decision-makers at national level and other practitioners by providing information on the vulnerability to unconventional gas extraction of the specified mapping themes on a regional scale. The vulnerability map was developed by using experts in their respective fields to decide on indicators that would indicate vulnerability of a theme to unconventional gas extraction specifically. Only regional scale data was used for this regional map and the map cannot replace local scale maps that may need to be developed to inform decision-makers of local scale conditions of vulnerability to unconventional gas extraction. This map is intended as a reconnaissance tool to inform decision-makers on areas where additional detail field work and assessments may be required as part of Environmental Impact Assessment and licensing conditions.
Development of an Interactive Vulnerability Map and
Monitoring Framework to Assess the Potential
Environmental Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas
Extraction by Means of Hydraulic Fracturing
Report to the
WATER RESEARCH COMMISSION
by
S Esterhuyse, M Avenant, M Watson, N Redelinghuys, A Kijko, J Glazewski, LA Plit, M Kemp,
A Smit, F Sokolic, AT Vos, D Reynolds, M von Maltitz, J van Tol, C Bragg,
B van Soelen & S Ouzman
Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State
WRC Report No. 2149/1/14
ISBN 978-1-4312-0589-9
October 2014
ii
Obtainable from
Water Research Commission
Private Bag X03
Gezina, 0031
orders@wrc.org.za or download from www.wrc.org.za
DISCLAIMER
This report has been reviewed by the Water Research Commission (WRC) and approved for
distribution. Approval does not signify that the contents necessarily reflect the views and policies of
the WRC nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or
recommendation for use.
© Water Research Commission
iii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION
This report emanates from a project entitled “Development of an interactive vulnerability map and
monitoring framework to assess the potential environmental impact of unconventional oil and gas
extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing”. The study was proposed in light of the applications that
were made by various companies for exploration permits with the Petroleum Agency of South Africa
(PASA) during 2009-2011. The extent of applications for the extraction of shale gas and coalbed
methane spans large areas of South Africa (approximately 32% of the surface area of South Africa at
the time of writing this report) and necessitated an investigation into unconventional oil and gas
extraction. The study focused specifically on understanding the unconventional oil and gas extraction
process, identifying possible impacts associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction and
hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), as well as identifying vulnerable areas that need
protection in terms of unconventional gas extraction.
Hydraulic fracturing has raised some concern worldwide. The Environmental Protection Agency of the
United States of America is currently performing an environmental impact study spanning 3 years, on
hydraulic fracturing at Federal level, after reports of possible water contamination resulting from
unconventional gas operations (USEPA, 2011). Other government commissioned reports include the
Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement or BAPE report in Canada (BAPE, 2011) that
noted that it would be appropriate to assess the long-term risk associated with the presence of
contaminated water from hydraulic fracturing activities in rock formations and also that a study of the
cumulative impacts of the disposal of wastewater from the shale gas industry must be undertaken.
The report also stated that a strategic environmental assessment of the cumulative impacts was seen
to be "a necessary element of both an informed decision and improved social acceptability". In the
United Kingdom (UK) the Tyndall report (Wood et al., 2011) and the Energy and Climate Change
Committee, ("the E&CCC enquiry") investigated proposed fracking in the UK. The Tyndall report
noted that there is a risk of contamination of groundwater from shale gas extraction and that it is
important to recognise that most problems arise due to errors in construction or operation of wells that
cannot be eliminated. It also noted that significant amounts of water are required to extract shale gas
and this could put severe pressure on water supplies in areas of drilling (which is an issue in water-
stressed South Africa). The UK's Energy and Climate Change Committee ("the E&CCC") also
recently held an inquiry into the exploration for and exploitation of shale gas (House of Commons,
2011a). Regarding the harmful nature of the chemicals used in fracking, it was noted that there could
be some issues related to the mobilisation of chemicals within the shale to surface water and
groundwater (House of Commons, 2011a) and that mitigation of the risk to aquifers from hydraulic
fracturing relies on companies undertaking the proper measures to protect the environment from
pollution (House of Commons, 2011b). The British House of Commons scheduled a second evidence
session on the “Impact of Shale Gas on Energy Markets”, to be held on 11 December 2012 (House of
Commons, 2012). This public session would focus on what effect the development and expansion of
a shale gas industry will have on the UK, how the Government’s Gas Generation Strategy and
announcements in the Autumn Statement will influence the development of the UK shale gas industry;
and the wider implications of shale gas on the UK’s climate change obligations and investment in
renewable energy (House of Commons, 2012). Apart from the specific concerns related to hydraulic
fracturing, the unconventional oil and gas extraction process (including seismic surveys and
infrastructure development in the form of roads and pipelines) may also have significant impacts on
the biophysical and socio-economic spheres.
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A report by Havemann et al. (2011) highlights the following concerns with regard to the exploration for
unconventional gas in the Karoo (which also applies to the wider South African context):
There is insufficient information on the potential health risks to the public as a result of water
contamination;
There is an unacceptable risk of losing globally unique biodiversity, jeopardising ecological
integrity and causing loss of irreplaceable resources for which remedy is not feasible;
There is an unacceptable risk of having an irreversible negative impact on the sense of place of
the Karoo and on the lives, health and livelihoods of its communities;
There is a substantial risk of inequitable distribution of impacts arising from the proposed
activity, and of vulnerable rural people having to bear the negative impacts; and
In the light of significant uncertainties there is a need to take a risk-averse and cautious
approach.
The Havemann report (2011) also cautioned the government, stating that:
Fracking is an unprecedented activity in South Africa;
A policy vacuum exists in relation to the exploitation of shale gas;
Project-level environmental impact assessment is an inappropriate mode of environmental
management in this case regional strategic environmental assessment may be more
appropriate;
Authorisation processes are fragmented and limited; and
There is a serious lack of capacity to monitor and enforce compliance with any conditions of
approval.
In view of the above shortcomings in South Africa, the aim of this study was to investigate
unconventional oil and gas extraction and hydraulic fracturing by performing a background review in
order to understand the unconventional oil and gas exploration and extraction process and its
possible related impacts; develop an interactive vulnerability map to aid in decision-making; and
develop a monitoring framework that provides a framework for the monitoring of specific entities,
including surface water, groundwater, vegetation, seismicity and socio-economics.
This report highlights the challenges that South Africa would have to address when pursuing
unconventional oil and gas, such as managing the related impacts at different scales (regional scale
cumulative impacts that may cross provincial and water management boundaries versus local scale
impacts such as the effect of local scale contamination on the riverine rabbit), addressing the lack of
data in certain disciplines (for example the uncertainties related to deep groundwater systems,
artesian aquifer systems and deep geology) and addressing the lack of inter-institutional co-operation.
The report also describes how the possible impacts on the biophysical and socio-economic
environments may interlink. For example, while oil and gas exploration and extraction may drive
socio-economic development in certain areas, worker migration may impact negatively on municipal
service levels, while impacts on the environment (water contamination, seismicity) may impact on
community health and safety. The complex inter-linkage of impacts necessitates that inter- and intra-
institutional cooperation and communication be optimized in order to effectively manage and minimise
possible impacts related to unconventional oil and gas extraction. The governance of oil and gas
extraction should be handled as a whole and linkages between the biophysical and socio-economic
environments should be researched, understood and managed in an integrated way. The National
Environmental Management Act (107 of 1998) (NEMA) principles acknowledge the interdependence
of socio-economic and biophysical systems and one of the key principles of the NEMA requires that
all developments be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Sustainable socio-
economic development can only be achieved if the considerations of development, as underpinned by
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the right to socio-economic development, are weighed against environmental considerations, as
underpinned by the right to environmental protection. In South Africa, where water demand will
exceed water supply in the near future, unsustainable use of water resources will result in increasingly
limited water resources for future health and well-being as well as for sustained socio-economic
development. Society in general, and specifically the residents in the Karoo where access to water is
already limited, needs to be assured of the sustainable use of the water resources for health and well-
being by understanding and where possible avoiding the negative social impacts resulting from
unconventional gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing.
This report is not prescriptive and should be used as a guidance document for decision-making. The
observations and findings made in this report are neither totally comprehensive nor exhaustive, but
attempt to address most of the important potential issues regarding unconventional oil and gas
extraction in South Africa. Sources that were utilised include government reports, industry reports,
journal articles and discussions with specialists from various disciplines. The scientists aimed to use
credible reports containing comprehensive data and information in order to perform as accurate an
analysis as possible of the possible impacts associated with unconventional gas extraction and
hydraulic fracturing. The vulnerability map was developed based on qualitative and subjective expert
input and this report should be viewed as a starting point for understanding unconventional oil and
gas extraction, and should be built upon when new information becomes available. Since the
unconventional oil and gas industry is one that advances rapidly in terms of new technologies, it is
possible that some of the most recent advances may not be reflected in this report.
BACKGROUND REVIEW AND POSSIBLE IMPACTS OF UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS
EXTRACTION
The background review is the first step towards understanding the complexities of unconventional oil
and gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing and should aid government in developing the
required regulatory policies and guidelines to effectively manage and monitor unconventional gas
extraction and hydraulic fracturing in South Africa in a way that will protect human health and the
environment and ensure sustainable use of our very scarce water resources.
Apart from the possible positive impacts of unconventional gas extraction (providing energy and jobs)
(Williams, 2011; Chung and Hoffnagle, 2011; Considine et al., 2011), possible negative impacts may
also occur in both the biophysical and socio-economic environments. There are multiple and
reciprocal linkages between society and the environment, which necessitate research into the
possible impacts of unconventional gas extraction on the biophysical and socio-economic spheres,
and how these impacts interlink. The possible negative social impacts resulting from unconventional
gas extraction need to be well understood and avoided where possible. These possible impacts
include competition over water between oil and gas companies and existing lawful water users in the
Karoo; securing access to water and sanitation for previously disadvantaged communities in the face
of competing demands presented by fracking operations; the potential health risks associated with
lack of access to water and adequate sanitation in vulnerable communities; in-migration and higher
population density in ecologically sensitive and water scarce areas (Kargbo et al., 2010; Dolesh,
2011; Beemster and Beemster, 2011; Broderick et al., 2011). Even job creation may be contentious
as it is not guaranteed that jobs created in the oil and gas sector will offset job losses in other sectors
such as the agricultural sector. Therefore, the dynamic and multi-faceted socio-economic and
demographic impacts of unconventional gas extraction in communities in these areas where basic
resources such as water are already under pressure should be identified and linked with wider
developmental and environmental concerns. Negative environmental impacts may also occur, which
may include impacts on water resources (in terms of quality and quantity for both surface water and
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groundwater resources) (ANU, 2012; Broomfield, 2012; Rahm and Riha 2012; Herridge et al., 2012;
Lechtenböhmer et al., 2011; IEA, 2012), habitat fragmentation and loss (Jones and Pejchar 2013,
Northrup and Wittemyer 2013) as well as air quality impacts (Twine, 2012; Farina, 2011; Tollefson,
2012; Northrup and Wittemyer 2013). By describing the possible impacts, it is hoped that some
negative impacts during unconventional gas extraction may be minimised. The identification and
description of impacts also aided the development of the interactive vulnerability map.
UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS VULNERABILITY MAP
The interactive vulnerability map that was developed during this project focuses on specific aspects,
which include surface water, groundwater, vegetation, seismicity and socio-economics, and was
developed specifically for South Africa. Various other entities on which unconventional gas extraction
may have an impact will be discussed in Chapter 3, which may be included in later iterations of the
vulnerability map in follow-up projects.
The vulnerability map aims to assist decision-makers and other practitioners by providing information
on the vulnerability to unconventional gas extraction of the specified mapping themes on a regional
scale. The vulnerability map was developed by using experts to identify indicators that would reflect
the vulnerability of a theme to unconventional gas extraction specifically, as well as to classify and
weight indicators (where relevant). Regional scale data was used for this map and the map cannot
replace local scale maps that may need to be developed to inform decision-makers of local scale
conditions of vulnerability to unconventional gas extraction. This map is intended as a reconnaissance
tool to inform decision-makers on areas where additional detail field work and assessments may be
required. It may also be of use during environmental impact assessments and the determination of
licensing conditions.
Typically vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity and coping (adaptive) capacity (Birkmann,
2006; Lin and Morefield, 2011; O’Brien et al., 2011; Wongbusarakum and Loper, 2011). The greater
the exposure or sensitivity, the greater the vulnerability, and the greater the coping capacity, the less
vulnerable the system will be. Classically, biophysical systems mostly identify sensitivity indicators
(Schauser et al., 2010). Coping capacity indicators are usually identified for the socio-economic
sphere and refer to adaptability by humans (O’Brien et al., 2011; Wongbusarakum and Loper, 2011),
although coping capacity for the biophysical entities should also be identified. For the interactive
vulnerability map in this project, only sensitivity indicators were identified and mapped. Detail
information on the mapping approach and limitations are discussed in Section 4 of this report.
A vulnerability indicator, which can be spatially represented as a map, is usually the result of the
combination and aggregation of a number of sub-indicators or indicating components (Birkmann,
2006; Kienberger et al., 2009). The normative approach (described in more detail in Section 4 of the
report) was followed for the identification of sensitivity indicators. Although this approach requires time
and resources and is limited in its application and transferability to other regions (e.g. countries
outside South Africa), the integration of expert knowledge provides support for the weighing and
aggregation of the indicator components and may increase the acceptability of the results. It is also
widely acknowledged that the involvement of stakeholders in the development of indicators is key to
identifying relevant vulnerability indicators (Harvey et al., 2011, Nardo et al., 2005).
The mapping themes are represented separately and should be handled separately by decision-
makers and practitioners, while keeping in mind that possible impacts and vulnerable entities
associated with the different mapping themes may interlink. The map is interactive and users can
zoom in or out and can activate or deactivate base maps and overlays and click on activated layers to
obtain detail information associated with those layers. The information available on the vulnerability
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map can be used to assist decision-makers and practitioners during license applications, EIA
processes and strategic environmental assessments, amongst others.
The vulnerability map should not be viewed as a static entity. More detailed information may become
available on themes that are mapped now, and new indicators may later be used for which no
accurate spatial data currently exists (an example is heritage sites). There may be possible updates
or refinements to the map as a “working document”. Such refinement of and/or additions to the
vulnerability map may occur during later stages of follow-up projects. The following disclaimer is valid
for the interactive vulnerability map:
Disclaimer:
Every effort was made to select nationally acceptable datasets during the development of these maps
and to adhere to strict quality standards. None of the parties involved in creating these maps,
guarantee the accuracy of information provided by external sources and the parties accept no
responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use or misuse of such data.
Neither the Centre for Environmental Management (University of the Free State) nor the University of
Pretoria Natural Hazard Centre, Africa nor any other party involved in creating, producing or delivering
the map and related reports shall be liable for any direct, incidental, consequential, indirect or punitive
damages arising out of the misuse of the information contained in this map and related reports.
UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS MONITORING FRAMEWORK
Performing monitoring of various entities of the biophysical and socio-economic spheres before
exploration, during exploration, during extraction and after extraction is important to assess possible
changes in these entities due to the unconventional gas extraction process. Whereas the background
review illustrates various possible impacts of concern, active monitoring of certain entities can
address some of these concerns and identify possible problems timeously. It is especially important
for South Africa to perform baseline monitoring before exploration starts to ensure that we will have
reference conditions in order to identify what impact oil and gas extraction activities has on the
biophysical and socio-economic environments. Without such a baseline determining impacts would
not be possible. It is also important that monitoring occur during oil and gas exploration and extraction
(to address impacts as they occur in order to minimise and/or mitigate the effects of these impacts) as
well as post extraction, since some of the impacts may only be observed long after wells in a certain
area have been decommissioned and after the oil and gas companies have moved on to another part
of the oil and gas reservoir.
The monitoring framework can be used as a guideline for planning monitoring activities, during the
various phases of unconventional gas extraction. The objective of the framework is to identify the
important entities to be monitored during the various phases and discuss means of monitoring for
selected entities (surface water, groundwater, seismicity, vegetation and socio-economics). Although
the list of entities discussed in this monitoring framework is not exhaustive, it could assist government
in planning for the monitoring of the entities of most concern. The framework discusses issues such
as why monitoring of certain aspects is required, where monitoring must be performed (site specific or
regional), when it must be performed (related to the different phases of unconventional oil and gas
extraction), how it must be performed (by discussing aspects such as parameters to be monitored as
well as data management) and who the relevant parties are that should do this monitoring (oil and gas
companies vs. regulators). The framework also addresses various legal and governance
considerations related to such monitoring, such as the role of international law in South Africa, the
interaction of different pieces of legislation related to the monitoring of selected media and areas of
viii
concern (surface water, groundwater, vegetation, seismicity and socio-economics), the mandates of
different South African departments in performing specific monitoring functions and the feasibility of
forming a central independent body to monitor unconventional gas extraction.
WAY FORWARD
It is hoped that the background review, interactive vulnerability map and the monitoring framework
can be used as guidance by authorities to develop regulations and effectively regulate this activity in
order to minimize or mitigate possible impacts that may emanate from this activity. The vulnerability
map may also be of assistance during specific assessments. Since unconventional oil and gas
extraction advances fairly quickly with new advances in technology, it is recommended that authorities
and practitioners update their knowledge regularly and also address uncertainties or knowledge gaps.
Various uncertainties and knowledge gaps currently exist. For example, groundwater use is one of the
aspects over which there is uncertainty (national datasets are not entirely accurate) and the human
dependence on groundwater as indicated in the vulnerability map needs to be updated with more
accurate and finer resolution data. In addition to the subterranean groundwater control areas, other
sole source aquifers (which may not be known at this stage) and possible new aquifers (that have not
been identified or mapped yet) also need to be identified and included in the vulnerability map. These
activities are extremely important if the Department of Water and Sanitation is to protect groundwater
in water scarce areas for human use. South Africa’s knowledge on deep geology is also limited and
for vegetation, various areas still need to be mapped. In terms of unconventional oil and gas
extraction, the deposits that may have economically extractable oil and gas is still unknown, as are
the possible stimulation techniques that may be required for extracting these resources. With regard
to the numerous uncertainties related to proposed oil and gas extraction activities and the knowledge
gaps in biophysical systems, possible negative impacts must be anticipated and prevented where
possible and a risk averse and cautious approach must be followed that takes into account the limits
of our current knowledge.
The impacts associated with oil and gas extraction will be cumulative in nature and will most likely
occur on a regional scale, highlighting the importance of using strategic environmental assessments
in addition to environmental impact assessments. Oil and gas operations will cumulatively add to
impacts associated with current land use activities and impact assessments for different areas or
different oil and gas companies cannot be considered in isolation during decision-making processes.
It is also vital that the regulation of unconventional oil and gas exploration and extraction is
undertaken with a holistic approach that considers environmental integrity on an ecosystem basis and
extends this regulation to possible incidental impacts and impacts associated with ancillary activities.
In terms of monitoring, it is recommended that baseline surveys be performed as a matter of urgency.
Baseline monitoring before exploration is extremely important in order to establish reference
conditions of the target area (and the surrounding areas) before exploration or any other activity takes
place. Baseline monitoring would also inform future monitoring during the other phases of oil and gas
mining (exploration, extraction and post extraction). For some entities baseline monitoring is more
complex than for others. Groundwater baseline monitoring would require a hydrocensus and field
reconnaissance with a pilot study to determine the accurate parameters that need to be monitored
during the baseline and during the other phases of oil and gas exploration and extraction. Monitoring
of groundwater parameters may be extremely costly and logistics of sampling and laboratory analyses
may be complex. All these concerns also highlight the importance of performing hydrocensuses as
soon as possible in potential target areas (addressing groundwater quality as well as quantity), that
aquifers be mapped accurately and that laboratories be upgraded to include the relevant analyses
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capabilities to ensure the success of groundwater baseline monitoring and monitoring during the other
phases of oil and gas extraction. Closely linked with groundwater monitoring, is the monitoring of
seismicity. Currently the Council for Geoscience monitors regional seismicity in South Africa, but the
number of seismic stations are not enough to obtain a good enough resolution for monitoring of
seismicity during unconventional oil and gas extraction. It is recommended that a network of
seismographs and accelerographs, that have the ability to record macro- and micro-earthquakes, be
installed and operated before and during exploration (in order to have a baseline) as well as during
and after extraction.
The regional scale of possible impacts makes integrated, systematic, standardised monitoring across
regions very important, and necessitates integration between local and provincial government,
alignment and cooperative governance between different government departments, alignment
between different pieces of legislation, amongst others, to make monitoring efforts successful. The
failure to align legislation and clearly identify mandates, roles and responsibilities for government
entities as well as acknowledging the regional and cumulative scale of the possible impacts, may
necessitate the development of a central entity to perform these functions in an integrated and
coordinated fashion. Existing government structures may be re-aligned or academia can assist in the
execution of these functions. Government will need to take steps to adequately curate new
information that is gathered during baseline surveys and further monitoring. Monitoring of the different
biophysical and socio-economic aspects will occur over extended periods of time (even after oil and
gas extraction ceased in an area and wells have been decommissioned) and government will need to
plan for this. Government must also require that industry make the relevant data for proper decision-
making, available to government. It is thus recommended that government identifies or establishes a
body for data curation and assessment of the data that are gathered through monitoring activities as a
matter of urgency.
The Report on Investigation of Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo Basin of South Africa (DMR, 2012)
recommended that the current regulatory framework be complemented by establishing appropriate
regulations, controls and co-ordination systems. To this end, the Department of Mineral Resources
published the “Proposed Technical Regulations of the Exploration and Exploitation of Petroleum
Resources” under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA) in
October 2013 and the then Department of Water Affairs published their notice of intent to declare
“The exploration for and or production of onshore unconventional oil or gas resources and any
activities incidental thereto including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing as a controlled activity”
under the National Water Act 36 of 1998 (NWA) in August 2013. The proposed oil and gas extraction
activities and its related impacts will straddle various government departments, amongst others the
Departments of Mineral Resources, Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs and Science and
Technology and thus requires that regulations be promulgated not only under the MPRDA and NWA,
but also under the NEMA, the National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008 (NEMWA)
and the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEMAQA).
It will be vital for industry and government to recognise the complexity of the challenges posed by
these possible impacts. However, the impacts can be minimised where an effective regulatory system
and best monitoring practice are in place and can be remediated where they do occur. If the oil and
gas industry is to earn and retain the social licence to operate, it is a matter of urgency to have a
transparent, adaptive and effective regulatory system in place that is implemented and backed by
best practice monitoring, in addition to credible and high quality baseline surveys. A major
coordinated programme of research to address the various uncertainties and knowledge gaps should
be initiated at an early stage to ensure that South Africa is ready for unconventional oil and gas
exploration and extraction.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Team, under the auspices of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), would like to
acknowledge the Water Research Commission for supporting and funding this project, and specifically
Dr. Shafick Adams who has provided ongoing support throughout the project.
We also thank the following persons:
The Steering Committee consisting of the following members are thanked for their support and
continued interest in the project:
Dr H. Bezuidenhout South African National Parks
Mr J. Cobbing SLR Consulting
Dr K. de Wet Department of Sociology, University of the Free State
Mr F. Fourie Department of Water and Sanitation
Dr S. Fourie Tshwane University of Technology
Mr R. Leyland Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Mr A. Maherry Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Dr R. Murray Groundwater Consulting Services
Dr R. Scholes Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Dr J. van der Merwe Independent scientist associated with the Institute for
Groundwater Studies and the Department of Geology at the
University of the Free State
Prof D. Vermeulen Department Head: Institute for Groundwater Studies, University
of the Free State
The authors also thank Prof M.T.S. Seaman, the Head of the Centre for Environmental
Management, for advice on the project and continued support throughout the project.
Dr. R. Scholes for invaluable advice and guidance throughout the project.
Ms C. Smit for friendly assistance, co-ordination and reminders throughout.
Mr F. Fourie, Mr B. Viljoen, Mr E. Bertram and Ms D. Visagie (Department of Water and
Sanitation), Dr A Tiplady (SKA), Dr S Holness (NMMU), Ms F Daniels (SANBI), Mr A Maherry
(CSIR) are thanked for data and information.
Ms H. Human, Mr H. Louw, Mr A.W. Nell, Ms H. Prinsloo, Ms M.W. Naude, Ms J. Adendorff, Ms
Q. Mkabile, Mr D. Cillie, Mr G. Enke and Ms N.Hutter for assistance throughout the project.
The University of the Free State for providing basic facilities and logistic backing for the study.
Lastly, all the experts who contributed their time and knowledge during the development of the
vulnerability map are thanked. Without their highly valued contributions, the development of the
vulnerability map would not have been possible.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1
1.1 Rationale of project ......................................................................................... 1
1.2 Project objectives ............................................................................................ 2
1.3 Team members and disciplines ....................................................................... 3
1.4 Project limitations and constraints ................................................................... 3
1.5 Report layout .................................................................................................. 4
2
BACKGROUND REVIEW .................................................................................... 4
2.1 Unconventional hydrocarbon resource types on which hydraulic
fracturing may be applied .................................................................... 5
2.2 Unconventional hydrocarbon resource types occurring in South Africa ........... 6
2.3 Background information on shale oil and gas extraction ................................. 8
2.3.1
Exploration phase .............................................................................................. 8
2.3.2
Extraction phase .............................................................................................. 10
2.3.3
Post extraction phase ...................................................................................... 13
2.4 Background information on coalbed methane extraction ............................... 13
2.4.1
Exploration phase ............................................................................................ 14
2.4.2
Extraction phase .............................................................................................. 14
2.4.3
Post extraction phase ...................................................................................... 17
2.5 Background information on hydraulic fracturing ............................................ 18
3
ENTITIES ON WHICH UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS
EXTRACTION AND HYDRAULIC FRACTURING MAY HAVE AN
IMPACT .............................................................................................................. 22
3.1 Biophysical entities ....................................................................................... 22
3.1.1
Surface water ................................................................................................... 22
3.1.2
Groundwater .................................................................................................... 25
3.1.3
Seismicity ......................................................................................................... 32
3.1.4
Vegetation ........................................................................................................ 34
3.1.5
Soil ................................................................................................................... 39
3.1.6
Air quality ......................................................................................................... 41
3.1.7
Aquatic invertebrates ....................................................................................... 42
3.1.8
Terrestrial insects ............................................................................................ 46
3.1.9
Mammals ......................................................................................................... 47
3.1.10
Fish .................................................................................................................. 51
3.1.11
Amphibians and reptiles .................................................................................. 62
3.2 Socio-economic entities ................................................................................ 68
3.2.1
Economic well-being ........................................................................................ 69
3.2.2
Health .............................................................................................................. 71
3.2.3
Agriculture and food security ........................................................................... 74
3.2.4
Social well-being and living conditions ............................................................ 75
3.2.5
Demographic impacts ...................................................................................... 77
3.2.6
Astronomy ........................................................................................................ 78
3.2.7
Archaeology and heritage resources ............................................................... 80
3.2.8
National parks .................................................................................................. 82
3.3 Concluding remarks ...................................................................................... 87
4
VULNERABILITY MAPPING ............................................................................. 89
4.1 Mapping approach ........................................................................................ 89
4.1.1
Approach to vulnerability mapping .................................................................. 89
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4.1.2
Process for vulnerability mapping .................................................................... 90
4.1.3
Challenges and limitations of vulnerability mapping........................................ 97
4.2 Detailed information for each mapping theme ............................................... 98
4.2.1
Surface water ................................................................................................... 98
4.2.2
Groundwater .................................................................................................. 111
4.2.3
Vegetation ...................................................................................................... 120
4.2.4
Seismicity ....................................................................................................... 135
4.2.5
Socio-economics ........................................................................................... 143
4.3 Concluding remarks .................................................................................... 160
5
MONITORING FRAMEWORK ......................................................................... 161
5.1 Monitoring approach, preferred model and monitoring framework ............... 161
5.1.1
Monitoring approach and preferred model .................................................... 162
5.1.2
Monitoring framework .................................................................................... 163
5.2 Legal and governance considerations ......................................................... 164
5.2.1
Fracking in other jurisdictions ........................................................................ 165
5.2.2
The application of International Law .............................................................. 167
5.2.3
The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2008
(MPRDA) ....................................................................................................... 168
5.2.4
The Constitution of Republic of South Africa ................................................. 170
5.2.5
Laws relating to natural resource use and conservation ............................... 170
5.2.6
Laws relating to pollution control and waste management ........................... 187
5.2.7
Laws relating to environmental management; the environmental
assessment process and land-use planning and development .................... 188
5.2.8
Cooperative governance and law .................................................................. 193
5.2.9
Administrative law issues .............................................................................. 198
5.3 Limitations to monitoring approaches .......................................................... 201
5.4 Monitoring framework per aspect ................................................................ 202
5.4.1
Surface water ................................................................................................. 202
5.4.2
Groundwater .................................................................................................. 214
5.4.3
Seismicity ....................................................................................................... 221
5.4.4
Vegetation ...................................................................................................... 224
5.4.5
Socio-economics ........................................................................................... 230
5.5 Concluding remarks .................................................................................... 238
6
CONCLUSION .................................................................................................. 239
6.1 Background on and impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction ......... 239
6.2 Vulnerability mapping .................................................................................. 240
6.3 Monitoring framework ................................................................................. 241
6.4 Recommendations and way forward ........................................................... 242
7
REFERENCES ................................................................................................. 245
APPENDICES.............................................................................................................. 273
APPENDIX 1 ................................................................................................................ 274
APPENDIX 2 ................................................................................................................ 282
APPENDIX 3 ................................................................................................................ 287
APPENDIX 4 ................................................................................................................ 292
xiii
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Permit Application Areas (Data sourced from PASA, 2014).................................................... 6
Figure 2: Possible scheme of repeatable “Complex” on the left and “Multi-complex” on the right
(Guarnone et al., 2012) .................................................................................................. 10
Figure 3: Limnological regions of southern Africa proposed by Allanson et al. (1990) overlain on
proposed hydraulic fracturing areas............................................................................... 43
Figure 4: The PED Nexus (Source: Pelser and Redelinghuys, 2008) .................................................. 69
Figure 5: South African national parks that occur in the Karoo Main and Sub-basins. ........................ 83
Figure 6: Word tag cloud for surface water indicator identification ..................................................... 101
Figure 7: Map indicating surface water vulnerability using DEC data from the 2011-2013 PESEIS data
(DWA, 2013a). ............................................................................................................. 106
Figure 8: Wetland vulnerability according to five vulnerability classes using wetland rank data from the
NFEPA study ................................................................................................................ 108
Figure 9: Word tag cloud for groundwater indicator identification....................................................... 114
Figure 10: GRAII Drastic aquifer vulnerability base layer ................................................................... 117
Figure 11: Map indicating structures ................................................................................................... 118
Figure 12: Thresholds used to assess ecosystem threat status. (Redrawn from Driver et al., 2012) 122
Figure 13: Word tag cloud for vegetation indicator identification ........................................................ 126
Figure 14: A map indicating the vulnerability rating associated with each Ecosystem Threat Status
classification. ................................................................................................................ 127
Figure 15: Map indicating the vulnerability rating associated with each ecosystem protection level
classification ................................................................................................................. 129
Figure 16: Aquifer Dependent Ecosystems (2007) overlain on the vegetation types from Mucina and
Rutherford (2005) ......................................................................................................... 131
Figure 17: Category B: Critical Biodiversity Area Bioregional and Provincial Data (Compiled from
data received from Holness, 2013) .............................................................................. 132
Figure 18: Category C: Critical Biodiversity Area Bioregional and Provincial Data (Compiled from
data received from Holness, 2013) .............................................................................. 132
Figure 19: Category D: Ecological Support Area Bioregional and Provincial Data (Compiled from
data received from Holness, 2013) .............................................................................. 133
Figure 20: Category D: Ecological Support Area Equivalents (Compiled from data received from
Holness, 2013) ............................................................................................................. 133
Figure 21: Illustration of data which can be used to obtain recurrence parameters for the specified
seismic source (Modified after Kijko and Sellevoll, 1992) .......................................... 140
Figure 22: Map of current seismic vulnerability (hazard) for South Africa. This map shows the
expected PGA with a 10% probability of being exceeded at least once in a 50 year
period. .......................................................................................................................... 142
Figure 23: Methodological process ..................................................................................................... 145
Figure 24: Word cloud socio-economic indicators .............................................................................. 147
Figure 25: Population density ............................................................................................................. 152
Figure 26: Percentage of children under five years per area .............................................................. 153
Figure 27: Groundwater dependence for domestic use ...................................................................... 155
Figure 28: Percentage of people employed by agriculture per area ................................................... 156
Figure 29: Percentage of female-headed households per area ......................................................... 157
Figure 30: Proposed weighting of socio-economic indicators ............................................................. 157
Figure 31: Final weighting of socio-economic indicators .................................................................... 158
Figure 32: Scatterplot of socio-economic indicators ........................................................................... 159
Figure 33: Illustrated monitoring framework ........................................................................................ 163
Figure 34: A conceptual framework of monitoring impacts related to unconventional oil and gas
extraction ...................................................................................................................... 224
xiv
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: The study team and their specific fields of expertise involved in the study .............................. 3
Table 2: Possible impacts on surface water ......................................................................................... 24
Table 3: Possible impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction for groundwater .......................... 30
Table 4: Possible impacts on seismicity ............................................................................................... 34
Table 5: Possible impacts on vegetation .............................................................................................. 38
Table 6: Possible impacts on soil .......................................................................................................... 41
Table 7: Possible impacts on air quality ................................................................................................ 42
Table 8: Possible impacts on aquatic invertebrates ............................................................................. 45
Table 9: Possible impacts on terrestrial insects .................................................................................... 47
Table 10: Possible impacts on mammals ............................................................................................. 50
Table 11: Fish habitats needed in a seasonal river system (based on the categories of Hall, 1989) .. 53
Table 12: Possible impacts on fish ....................................................................................................... 55
Table 13: Summary data of the occurrence and status of the amphibians and reptiles in South Africa
in relation to degree of endemicity ................................................................................. 62
Table 14: Summary data of the occurrence and status of the Amphibians and Reptiles in South Africa
in relation to threat status in terms of the red data listings ............................................ 63
Table 15: Possible impacts for amphibians and reptiles ....................................................................... 67
Table 16: Possible impacts on Economic well-being ............................................................................ 71
Table 17: Possible health impacts ........................................................................................................ 74
Table 18: Possible impacts on agriculture and food security ................................................................ 75
Table 19: Possible impacts on social well-being and living conditions ................................................. 77
Table 20: Possible demographic impacts ............................................................................................. 78
Table 21: Possible impacts on astronomy ............................................................................................ 80
Table 22: Possible impacts on parks .................................................................................................... 87
Table 23: Spatial data linked to legislation ............................................................................................ 94
Table 24: Legend items and depiction .................................................................................................. 95
Table 25: Base layers and overlays of interactive vulnerability map .................................................... 96
Table 26: Profile of key informants ....................................................................................................... 98
Table 27: Possible surface water vulnerability indicators. .................................................................... 99
Table 28: Results of questionnaire sent to local experts to determine the appropriateness of indicators
chosen to determine surface water vulnerability to unconventional oil and gas mining
(extraction). .................................................................................................................. 100
Table 29: Surface water indicators investigated for use for surface water vulnerability map ............. 101
Table 30: Results of questionnaire sent to local experts to determine the appropriateness of the
vulnerability classification of indicators, confidence in data used and weight given to
each of the components for the surface water vulnerability map ................................ 104
Table 31: Suggested classes of vulnerability for river condition using the DEC from the 2011-2013
PESEIS study ............................................................................................................... 105
Table 32: Classes suggested for vulnerability of wetlands according to wetland ranks ..................... 107
Table 33: Classes of vulnerability for river condition using the DEC data from the 2011-2013 PESEIS
study ............................................................................................................................. 109
Table 34: Classes used for vulnerability of wetlands according to wetland ranks. ............................. 110
Table 35: Profile of key informants for groundwater ........................................................................... 112
Table 36: Results from first set of questionnaires to identify indicators .............................................. 113
Table 37: Drastic aquifer vulnerability classes .................................................................................... 117
Table 38: Buffer zones for geological structures................................................................................. 119
Table 39: Criteria used to identify threatened terrestrial ecosystems, with thresholds for CR, EN and
VU ecosystems (Taken from Driver et al., 2012) ......................................................... 122
Table 40: Results from first set of questionnaires to identify indicators .............................................. 124
xv
Table 41: Additional or alternative indicators suggested by vegetation experts and data sources .... 125
Table 42: Ecosystem Threat Status classification .............................................................................. 126
Table 43: Ecosystem protection level classification ............................................................................ 128
Table 44: Results of the statistical analysis of the data comprising the two base maps .................... 130
Table 45: Applied ground motion prediction equation by Atkinson-Boore (2006) and its coefficients.
..................................................................................................................................... 137
Table 46: Classification of acceleration range for mapping purposes ................................................ 141
Table 47: Profile of key informants ..................................................................................................... 146
Table 48: Quantitative results from indicator selection questionnaire ................................................ 148
Table 49: Selected indicators for mapping socio-economic vulnerability to unconventional oil and gas
extraction ...................................................................................................................... 149
Table 50: Indicators not selected for inclusion in the vulnerability map .............................................. 150
Table 51: Comparison between GAP and census datasets ............................................................... 151
Table 52: Results from vulnerability classification questionnaire........................................................ 152
Table 53: Vulnerability classification – Population density ................................................................. 152
Table 54: Vulnerability classification – Percentage of children under five years per area ................. 152
Table 55: Vulnerability classification – Groundwater dependence ..................................................... 154
Table 56: Vulnerability classification – Agricultural employment ........................................................ 155
Table 57: Vulnerability classification – Female-headed households .................................................. 156
Table 58: Responses from key informants on weighting of indicators ............................................... 158
Table 59: Socio-economic theme base layer weighting percentages ................................................ 158
Table 60: Principal component analysis on the 5 socio-economic indicators ..................................... 159
Table 61: Monitoring framework for surface water ............................................................................. 205
Table 62: Monitoring framework for groundwater ............................................................................... 218
Table 63: Monitoring framework for seismicity.................................................................................... 223
Table 64: Monitoring framework for vegetation................................................................................... 228
Table 65: Monitoring framework for socio-economics ........................................................................ 232
xvi
ACRONYMS
ADE: Aquifer Dependent Ecosystem
AENP: Addo Elephant National Park
AGA: Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act (21 of 2007)
AHP: Analytical Hierarchy Process
AIA: Archaeological Impact Assessment
AMD: Acid mine drainage
Bbl: Barrel
Bcf: Billion cubic feet
BTEX: Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene
CAPEX: Capital expenditure
CBA: Critical Biodiversity Area
CBD: Convention on Biological Diversity
CBM: Coalbed methane
CERES: Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics
CDP: Carbon Disclosure Project
CISPR: Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques (English: Special
international committee on radio interference)
COC: Chain of custody
CSG: Coal seam gas
CSIR: Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research
CSR: Corporate social responsibility
DEA: Department of Environmental Affairs
DEC: Default Ecological Category
DFA: Development Facilitation Act (67 of 1995)
DMR: Department of Mineral Resources
DSHA: Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis
DWA: Department of Water Affairs
DWS: Department of Water and Sanitation
EA: Environmental Assessment
EC: Electrical conductivity
EIA: Environmental Impact Assessment
EIP: Environmental Implementation Plan
EMP: Environmental Management plan
ER: Exploration Right
ESA: Ecological support area
ESP: Exchangeable Sodium Percentages
FEPA: Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas
FRAI: Fish Response Assessment Index
GAI: Geomorphology Assessment Index
GAP: Geospatial Analysis Platform
GGHNP: Golden Gate Highlands National Park
GHG: Greenhouse gas
GIS: Geographic Information System
GMPE: Ground Motion Prediction Equation
GPS: Global positioning system
GRAII: Groundwater Resource Assessment II
HAI: Hydrology Driver Assessment Index
xvii
HF: Hydraulic fracturing
HIA: Heritage Impact Assessment
HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus
IDP: Integrated development plan
IEA: International Energy Agency
IHI: Index of Habitat Integrity Method
IPCC: International Panel on Climate Change
ISC: International Seismological Centre (United Kingdom)
ISO: International Organization for Standardization
KNP: Kruger National Park
Mamsl: Meters above mean sea level
MIRAI: Macro-invertebrate Response Assessment Index
MLRA: Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1008
MMI: Modified Mercalli Intensity
MNP: Mapungubwe National Park
MONP: Mokala National Park</