Botswana government admits to fracking
Presidency comes partially clean on fracking
After a week of denials, the Botswana government finally admitted yesterday that fracking operations have taken place in the country – a fact uncovered by a new film, the High Cost of Cheap Gas, and first exposed in the Guardian.
In a statement issued by the Office of the President, the government announced that “Permission has been given in some instances in the past for the use of industrial explosives in sub-surface fracturing, which some may view as a type of 'fracking’.”
However, the government stuck to its earlier position that, while exploration drilling for natural gas is being conducted by various companies, no fracking is currently underway in the country, although the film has evidence to the contrary.
“Admitting that fracking has taken place in Botswana is a step in the right direction but the government now needs to tell the whole truth about all the gas operations in the country - past and present,” said Richard Lee, Communications Manager at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, which funded the film.
In another welcome move, the government began to make some information about the previously secretive gas operations available to the public.
For the first time ever, it admitted that “concessions for energy prospecting have indeed been granted over wide areas of the country” and it has also published the latest map of these natural gas concessions.
The October 2013 map (attached below) shows fewer concessions within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve - the ancestral home of the San - but indicates that the government is considering a swathe of new concessions within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park along the border with South Africa as well as close to the Okavango.
The map also shows that concessions remain within the Chobe National Park – home to the largest herd of elephants in the world. Ironically, Botswana will host a global Emergency Elephant Summit next month.