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20 February 2012

Ipsos today released the results of a poll, conducted in 2011, on South Africans’ opinions towards natural gas exploration in the Karoo. The Shell commissioned poll involved Ipsos independently surveying more than more than 2,000 South African adults (face-to-face).

The Results

From the polling, Shell has learnt that South Africans want more information on job creation linked to natural gas exploration in the Karoo, the impact on the environment as well as the effect on the electricity supply. In fact, 73% of South Africans polled were in favour of gas extraction in the Karoo and 61% believe that Shell are technical experts at what they do.

“Shell has committed to listen to South Africans, and the people in the Karoo. The poll assisted us to better understand their needs and concerns. The outcome confirms a strong desire by South Africans to learn more about natural gas exploration, the creation of jobs, protection of the environment and potential effect on electricity supply. The poll also confirms that South Africans have a strong wish to pursue gas exploration in the Karoo and to alleviate energy and unemployment concerns. These results are very encouraging,” said Jan Willem Eggink, General Manager Upstream at Shell.

Next steps

Shell will address the concerns raised in the poll and continue to reach out to South Africans to provide information on the potential socio-economic benefits of gas exploration in South Africa. The poll indicates that 54% of people want more information on how gas exploration will benefit economic development and create jobs, 41% want more on the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing and 39% want more on how gas exploration will benefit the supply of and access to electricity.

With around 10 million people in South Africa without access to electricity, Shell hopes to contribute to addressing this challenge with the development of a natural gas supply, which could be instrumental in creating a reliable domestic energy source that could meet growing energy demand.

Eggink added, “The potential for job creation is substantial. While a limited number of direct and indirect local jobs could be created during the exploration phase, if we go into development, we could see thousands of jobs created for South Africans.” A study by IHS Global Insight demonstrated that in the US, shale gas production supported more than 600,000 jobs in 2010. The study forecasts that employment would increase to almost 870,000 by 2015 and that shale gas will sustain 1.6 million jobs by 2035.

At Shell we believe onshore exploration and production can and must occur in an environmentally responsible manner. Shell has made several commitments to South Africa and the people of the Karoo; amongst others that we will not compete with people of the Karoo for their water needs, that we will disclose the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and that we will work with affected communities on how they can receive direct benefits from the shale gas exploration.