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Water availability assessment for hydraulic fracturing in Mexico

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
6. Water and sustainable growth
Author(s): Carlos Galdeano
Margaret A. Cook
Michael E. Webber

Carlos Galdeano
The University of Texas at Austin
cgaldeano@utexas.edu
Margaret A. Cook
The University of Texas at Austin
margaretcook@utexas.edu
Michael E. Webber
The University of Texas at Austin
webber@mail.utexas.edu


Keyword(s): Hydraulic Fracturing, Water Availability Assessment, Water Resources Management, Integrated Water Resources, Energy and Water Nexus
Oral:

Abstract

Mexico’s government enacted an energy reform in 2013 that aims to foster competitiveness and private investment throughout the energy sector value chain.  Energy and water are dependent on each other; hence, it is relevant to quantify the potential impacts of the energy reform on Mexico’s water resources. Derived from this reform, the development of onshore unconventional oil and gas resources trapped in shale basins through hydraulic fracturing is expected. Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is a water-intensive activity that requires millions of gallons of water per well. The objective of this research is to quantify the water available to supply production in the onshore unconventional oil and gas reserves reported by Advanced Resources International. To do so, we conduct a multilayer data analysis to estimate water availability for HF activities in Mexico. This analysis considered 1) groundwater availability 2) surface water availability, and 3) volume of water required for the total unconventional fields to be developed according to Mexico’s shale reserves. Preliminary results suggest that there are more areas with groundwater availability than surface water availability within an expected distance of the potential HF sites. Furthermore, HF will not have a relevant water availability impact on areas with high groundwater availability (mainly eastern Mexico), but it could cause more stress in groundwater-scarce areas (mainly northern Mexico).

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