Mexico’s Safety, Energy and Environmental Agency (ASEA) confirmed that it is working on a legal norm for companies to use fracking if the next administration legalizes this extraction method. According to Bloomberg, this regulation will focus mostly on the reuse of the water injected in the plays to avoid wasting the resource.
CONAGUA told Bloomberg that although fracking uses huge amounts of water, less than one percent of the chemicals utilized in the process are toxic. According to CNH, fifty-three percent of Mexico’s prospective oil and gas resources need fracking to be extracted. ASEA also said that water used for fracking will be “in a figurative sense” drinkable, but it assured that environmental safety would be paramount for the regulation.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised in 2018 that he would prohibit fracking during his administration due to water scarcity. However, Mexico already produces 190Mb/d from this method, according to CNH. In light of different official documents, such as CNH’s report on extraction from unconventional plays, the Mexican Alliance Against Fracking has urged López Obrador to prohibit the practice. In 2019, PEMEX drilled and fracked three wells at unconventional plays in Puebla and Veracruz.
CNH has previously highlighted the challenges and opportunities of extraction from unconventional plays, which could help the country become energy self-sufficient. What is more, its dependence on US natural gas has increased by 84 percent over the last 20 years but the fracked gas that Mexico imports could also be produced internally. CNH recognizes the use of water as a main challenge. “There are several solutions to this problem: to regulate the reuse of water to reduce its consumption in hydraulic stimulation activities and use of brackish water, urban sewage or treated seawater. Finally, the development of other stimulation technologies, such as gels, air and other gases,” reported the commission. Regarding gas resources, Mexico has prospective resources of 141.5 Trillion cf. Forty-seven percent of these are in the Sabinas-Burros-Picachos basin, 38 percent in Burgos and 15 percent in the Tampico basin.