Unearthed questions survey on public opinion of fracking

A recent survey carried out by ISPOS reveals some South Africans favours Karoo gas exploration but want more information on job creation, environment and electricity supply.

Although most adult South Africans were unaware of the possible exploration for natural gas in the Karoo, when introduced to the concept, the majority said that they are in favour of determining the presence of natural gas in the Karoo. Respondents wanted the pressing issues of job creation, economic development and environmental concerns to be addressed in the process. The prospect of natural gas development creating a reliable domestic energy source that would give more South Africans access to electricity was also of paramount importance.

These were the main findings of an opinion poll conducted by Ipsos for Shell during August and September 2011. Ipsos polled more than 2,000 South Africans on exploration for natural gas in the Karoo Basin.  Face-to-face interviews allowed the interviewers to describe, inform and question respondents on shale gas, the process of hydraulic fracturing, their views on Shell and their hopes for South Africa.

 

un•earthed questions the validity of the findings on the grounds of the study being funded by Shell, one of the companies seeking gas exploration rights in the Karoo. With this in mind, it would be important to understand how hydraulic fracturing or the risks and benefits around natural gas drilling were explained to the survey participants in the Karoo, who, as this study shows, are largely unaware of any plans of for gas extraction.

The study says that “interviewers (had) to describe, inform and question respondents on shale gas, the process of hydraulic fracturing, their views on Shell and their hopes for South Africa.”

Thus, where respondents had never heard of ‘fracking’ an explanation was given to them  in order to complete the survey. If the interviewers were working on behalf of Shell and had to express “hopes for South Africa” in their explanation, it casts doubt on the partiality of the survey and questions its results.

 

To see the full IPSOS press release, follow this link:

Ipsos – News release Final February 2012 (4)

 

UPDATE: Feb, 20, 2012 at 14h10

Here is more information about the IPSOS survey that was funded by Shell. In the documents you can see the questions that were asked to the participants, many of whom, have never heard of fracking or the proposed plans to explore for gas in their area.

 

To see the official IPSOS report, follow this link:

Ipsos -Future Energy Report Final Feb 2012

To see a graphic layout of the IPSOS findings, follow this link:

Ipsos – Polling slide pack 20 Feb 2012