Mr Julius Irene

Research project: The Environmental and Socio-Economic Implications of Shale Gas Development in the Karoo, South Africa


The scope of my research synthesizes the environmental and socio-economic impact of shale gas development in the Karoo, South Africa. The study integrates existing knowledge, social science theories and research findings related to perception studies and impacts analysis of shale gas development on the local scale. This study utilizes survey instrument and interviews collected in the Karoo to explore public response to shale gas development, the experience of local activism , consent and the way public engagement is constructed. The review of the literature indicates that public perception within the context of unconventional gas development is expressed as an interpretation of the individual's  unique environment, political, cultural and social processes, therefore, it is problematic to juxtapose western experience to other context. Public perception is also shaped by the level of knowledge regarding shale gas development, institutional trust and media exposure (messaging).The acknowledgment that public acceptability is a perquisite to energy development raises many questions about the processes shaping public perception or attitude towards shale gas development and the way public responses are framed or conceived with regards to energy policy, governance and stakeholder's engagement. The scope of public stakeholder engagement over regulatory options is not well mapped and presents a number of obstacles to the effective and meaningful engagement process. An importantt distinction and consideration include the integration of opposing viewpoints (opposition vs acceptance) and public evaluation of risks of shale gas development into the decision-making process. This project is supervised by Dr Mary Kelly, Prof Gavin Gillmore, Prof Emeritus Ian Jarvis and Prof Walford Nigel.


I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology from the University of Calabar and an MBA Degree in Oil and Gas Management from  MiddlesexUniversity, London. I have over 20 years experience in a wide range of oil and gas exploration, appraisal and development projects across Africa, Middle East and the North Sea. My experiences include all aspect of drilling and operations/subsurface geology gained in a variety of roles with Baker Hughes INTEQ and Tullow Oil.

I have remarkable experience and exposure to world-class geology plays in highly underexplored areas, big new discoveries in East Africa Rifts - Uganda (Albertan Graben) and Kenya (Lokichar Basin).

I am a member of the Petroleum Society of Great Britain, London Petrophysical Society, Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts, Geological Society of London and South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

Areas of research interest

  • Social Dimensions of Energy Transition
  • Energy Policy and Governance
  • Shale Gas development / Uncoventional Energy
  • Climate Change


  • BSc(Hons) Geology
  • MBA Oil and Gas

Funding or awards received

  • Self Funded