Shell SA’s shale gas plans on hold

The company is currently weathering a financial crunch caused by plummeting oil prices.

FILE: Shell South Africa’s Chairman said the international oil price more than halved, forcing companies to bunker down. Picture: shell.com

JOHANNESBURG - Shell South Africa on Monday said it had not given up on its shale gas plans but put them on hold as it weathered a financial crunch caused by the plummeting oil price.

The company is pulling its fracking experts out of the country amidst delays in the legislation governing the exploration and mining of the underground gas.

It's being reported that companies competing in this space are growing increasingly frustrated by the delays.

Shell South Africa's Chairman Bonang Mohale said the international oil price more than halved, forcing companies to bunker down.

"Royal Dutch Shell decided that it needed to hold back amid aggressive growth and expansion in more than 90 companies where it has a presence. In South Africa where we have been for 113 years, we adopted a low cost holding position."

Mohale said once the legislation had been finalised, the team could be reassembled quickly.