Bundu Gas and Oil Exploration, has assigned environmental consultancy, Golder Associates to consult with communities who will be affected by the shale gas exploration in the Karoo basin, Creamer Media reported.

This follows a requirement of the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (Pasa) to revise its Environmental Management Programme (EMP), keeping it in line with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002.

Gas explorer Bundu is a subsidiary of Australian listed company Challenger Energy, and is one of the three firms that applied for exploration rights for shale gas in the Karoo Basin in 2010. Shell and Falcon Oil and Gas are among the three companies who applied before the moratorium on exploration was implemented.

Pasa announced in October that it would continue to process applications that were submitted before 1 February 2011 but that the moratorium would remain in place for those applications received after that date.

Golder Associates will be meeting with the relevant communities and discussing the revised EMP with them. Applicants have until 27 February 2015 to complete all amendments to their EMP and consultations.

Looking ahead

According to Robert Willies, Challenger Energy managing director, the public can view the EMP as from the 8 December 2014, and comments will be welcomed until 16 February 2015.

In a statement Willies said, ‘we welcome this opportunity to progress the application process and look forward to engaging with local communities and stakeholders’.

The document includes the assessment impacts which the exploration activities may have, both positive and negative.