Water Stress May Curtail Fracking Worldwide

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Industry Tags: Fracking, Research

Water Shortages Could Hinder Fracking for Shale Oil and Gas in Many Parts of the World, According the World Resources Institute (WRI) 

Governments and businesses using hydraulic fracturing to develop shale gas could face intense water competition in the world’s largest reserves, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability & Business Risk is the first publicly available analysis of water availability across all potential commercial shale gas and tight oil resources worldwide. The report finds 38 percent of the world’s shale resources face high to extremely high water stress or arid conditions.

The Global Shale Gas Development report ranks water stress across the 20 countries with the largest shale resources. In 40 percent of these countries, future shale production could happen in arid conditions or under high water stress.

The report also evaluates water availability for every shale play in the 11 countries either pursuing or most likely to pursue hydraulic fracturing: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Water availability and shale resources vary from country to country, making hydraulic fracturing’s potential unique in almost every location.

The report shares four recommendations to help governments, companies, and civil societies protect water security while minimizing business risks:

  • Conduct water risk assessments to understand local water availability and reduce business risk.

  • Increase transparency and engage with local regulators, communities, and industry to minimize uncertainty.

  • Ensure adequate water governance to guarantee water security and reduce regulatory and reputational risks.

  • Minimize freshwater use and engage in corporate water stewardship to reduce impacts on water availability.

Source: WRI

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