There is almost 40 times less shale gas in the Karoo than previously thought, scientists who helped analyse recent rock core samples from test drillings in the Karoo say. Prof Michiel de Kock, a senior paleomagnetist and head of geology at the University of Johannesburg, said very little sign of shale gas had been found in the first, directly measured, test samples dug from various depths, suggesting that previous claims about huge deposits were "grossly inflated". In the latest issue of the South African Journal of Science published on Thursday, De Kock and fellow researchers said previous estimates suggested the Karoo could be home to up to 485-trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of shale gas, which would mean the country had the fourth-largest deposits in the world. The US Energy Information Agency later downgraded this estimate to about 390 Tcf, the sixth-largest in the world. But De Kock said these estimates also appear to be "highly inflated" and it is now more likely that the technical...

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