NEWS New publication on lessons from fracking in the USA and Mexico published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

To link too this pub­li­ca­tion, click here.

Mexico’s recent energy reform (2013) has pro­vided the foun­da­tions for increased pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion in attempts to off­set or reverse the country’s con­tin­ued decline in fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion. This coun­try is cur­rently on path to becom­ing a net energy importer by 2020. Con­versely, in 2015, and for the first time in over 20 years, the United States (US) became a net oil exporter to Mex­ico. One of the strate­gies being pur­sued by Mex­ico to pre­vent an impend­ing supply–demand energy imbal­ance is the devel­op­ment of shale resources using hor­i­zon­tal drilling and hydraulic frac­tur­ing tech­niques. Hence, an eval­u­a­tion of the inher­ent risks asso­ci­ated with hydraulic frac­tur­ing is cru­cial for Mexico’s energy plan­ning and decision-​​making process. This paper draws lessons from the recent ‘shale boom’ in the US, and it ana­lyzes and sum­ma­rizes the envi­ron­men­tal, social, eco­nomic, and com­mu­nity impacts that Mex­ico should be aware of as its nascent shale indus­try devel­ops. The analy­sis seeks to inform mainly Mex­i­can pol­icy mak­ers, but also aca­d­e­mics, non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions, and the pub­lic in gen­eral, about the main con­cerns regard­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing activ­i­ties, and the impor­tance of reg­u­la­tory enforce­ment and com­mu­nity engage­ment in advanc­ing sus­tain­abil­ity. Fur­ther­more, using the US as a case study, we argue that devel­op­ment of uncon­ven­tional oil and gas resources in Mex­ico could lead to a short-​​term boom rather than to a depend­able and sus­tain­able long-​​term energy sup­ply. Our analy­sis con­cludes with a set of rec­om­men­da­tions for Mex­ico, fea­tur­ing best prac­tices that could be used to atten­u­ate and address some of the impacts likely to emerge from shale oil and gas development.

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