While fracking has not been utilized as a resource mining tool in much of Africa aside from South Africa, the countries of Algeria, Libya and Morocco are noted as possessing large reserves of natural gas in deep shale rock layers, which would require fracking techniques to extract.

In 2009, Petroleum Agency South Africa granted permission to Shell to conduct an assessment of shale gas resources in the Karoo Basin — an arid region spanning 800 miles between Johannesburg and Cape Town. In December 2010, Shell submitted three separate exploration license applications for areas of around 30,000 square kilometers each, in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa.

In response, local residents expressed concerns about the risks and costs of drilling and fracking for shale gas. In April 2011, South Africa’s cabinet established a moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo Basin to allow time for a government study of the impacts of fracking. However, the moratorium was lifted in September 2012.