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NEWS: Fracking poses a major threat to water in Mexico

Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena has identified the threat of fracking to Mexico.

Mexico has the fourth largest reserve of shale gas in the world, an estimated 681 trillion cubic feet of it.

IPS recently reported, “Mexico plans to expand shale gas exploration this year, but it could run into a shortage of water, which is essential to hydraulic fracturing or fracking, the method used to capture natural gas from shale rocks. …Since 2011, PEMEX (Mexico’s sate-run oil company) has drilled at least six wells for shale gas in the northern states of Nuevo León and Coahuila. And it is preparing for further exploration in the southeastern state of Veracruz, at a cost of 245 million dollars over the space of 18 months, in conjunction with the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP), a state institution. …(PEMEX) plans to drill 20 wells by 2016, with a total investment of over two billion dollars. It projects operating 6,500 commercial wells over the next 50 years.”

“According Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), …fracking takes 7.5 million to 30 million litres of water per well to release the gas, while a field of 10 wells would need between 25 million and 40 million litres of water. …(PEMEX) has not clarified where the water comes from (for its shale gas wells) or what is being done with the waste.”

According to the IPS news article, Professor Miriam Grunstein at the Centre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) says, “In Mexico there isn’t enough water. Where are they going to get it to extract shale gas?” Professor David Enríquez at the private Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) adds, “The environmental impact has to be factored in. It is an extremely touchy question, especially when you take into account the lack of water and the environmental problems in this country. Technical studies of all kinds have to be carried out, and the environment should be included in them as the key variable. If that doesn’t happen, shale gas projects should not move ahead.”

Campero is participating in an organizing meeting in Mexico City against fracking today.