The Company holds a TCP covering an area of approximately 7.5 million acres (~ 30,327 km2), in the southwest Karoo Basin, South Africa. The TCP granted Falcon exclusive rights to apply for an exploration right over the underlying acreage, which they duly did in August 2010, submitting an application to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (“PASA”). The Company also submitted an environmental management plan in January 2011 which was updated at the request of the PASA and submitted on 27 February 2015.
Until recently, the Karoo Basin was not considered prospective for commercial hydrocarbons resulting in very limited modern hydrocarbon exploration onshore in South Africa.
The Karoo Basin
The Karoo Basin is a sedimentary basin covering 600,000 km2 in central and southern South Africa. It contains thick, organic rich shales such as the Permian Whitehill Formation representing the prime focus of shale gas permit applications. Until recently, the Karoo Basin was not considered prospective for productive hydrocarbons and thus hydrocarbon exploration onshore South Africa was very limited and restricted to acquiring some 2D seismic data and drill a couple of exploration wells in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the Karoo basin is 8th in the world for shale gas potential with an estimated 390 TCF of technically recoverable shale gas resources (EIA, June 2015). The main shale target is the organically rich and thermally gas mature Whitehill Formation and similar shales (Prince Albert and Collingham shales) within Permian Ecca Group. Falcon estimates ~20 TCF recoverable gas resources within Falcon’s core area.
Falcon has chosen an optimum location for its permit within the Karoo basin. The area provides a wide depth range for the target Whitehill Shale regarding reservoir quality and gas retention potential. Moreover, the southern part of the Karoo basin is off the areas with abundant volcanic activity to the north that enhances the chance to drill and complete successful exploration and development wells in the future.