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A science action plan in aid of assisting the South African shale gas industry will take place at a national conference entitled The Shale gas industry in SA: Toward a Science Action Plan.

The event is to be hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), from 31 August to 1 September 2017. It is to be held in Port Elizabeth and is expected to be attended by some 150 key stakeholders from government, industry and academia locally and internationally. 
The conference follows the publication of the ASSAf report in 2016 on South Africa’s Technical Readiness to support the Shale Gas Industry. In addition to the ASSAf report, the Department of Environmental Affairs report on Shale Gas Development in the Central Karoo: A Scientific Assessment of the Opportunities and Risks will also be highlighted.

The objective of the conference is to showcase critical national reports on shale gas in South Africa; analyse the regulatory environment, combine common findings and recommendations in order to provide a platform for debate. The opening address will be delivered by Dr Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology.

Recommendations in the ASSAf report highlight the need for several baseline studies to improve the current understanding of the extent of the shale gas resources and the status of the local environment in which such developments might take place.