Royal Dutch Shell said Monday it will curb its shale activities in South Africa in response to low oil prices and licensing delays.

Shell South Africa chairman Bonang Mohale told South Africa’s Talk Radio 702 that oil price volatility has put financial pressure on shale gas exploration projects across the globe.

“The reason to go to a low cost holding position … is as a result of a difficult period for world [prices],” Mohale said.

He told Reuters  prices would need to rebound back up to $60 to $80 per barrel and the South African government would need to offer “excellent commercial terms” for the company to restart its operations.

Mohale did not disclose further details about the company’s shale plans in South Africa.

The company is still pursuing an exploration license for the onshore Karoo Basin.

Oil firms have been criticizing long delays to obtain exploration licenses in the country.

Shell has been waiting for its Karoo Basin exploration license for six years.

“Capital is mobile and is looking for the best commercial terms everywhere else in the world. We were hoping that we would have had a licence (for Karoo) in 36 months,” Mahole said.

The Karoo Basin holds an estimated 390 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable reserves.



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