About 60% of federal oil and gas drilling leases offered since 2017 are located in areas that are at risk of shortages and droughts, according to a report released Nov. 12.
The report from the left-leaning Center for American Progress argued an increase in drilling in these areas could worsen water shortages, a potential problem for ranchers, farmers, and municipalities, because it requires vast amounts of water.
“Oil and gas leasing in water-stressed areas has been largely unscrutinized but poses threats to water users across the West,” report author Jenny Rowland Shea said.
The average fracking job now consumes 13 million gallons (49 million liters) of water, up 40% in two years, according to a Reuters analysis of Permian producers’ data reported to FracFocus.org.
The Center for American Progress report analyzed leasing data from the Interior Department and a water risk map from the World Resources Institute.
In Nevada, 1,050 of 1,122 drilling leases were offered in areas of “high” or “extremely high” water stress, according to the report. In New Mexico, where the Permian Basin is partly located, 387 of 402 leases under the Trump administration, or 95%, are located in “extremely high” water-stress areas, it said.
The report urged the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management to weigh the impact of drilling on local water use in its permitting decisions.
“With climate change increasing water scarcity in much of the West, consideration of energy development impacts on watersheds can no longer be optional,” Rowland Shea said.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Feb. 11 the city is abandoning a plan to spend billions of dollars rebuilding three natural gas power plants along the coast.
Japanese energy explorer Inpex Corp. on Feb. 12 boosted its full-year net profit forecast by 37%, citing a larger-than-expected contribution from its Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia.
Saudi Arabia plans to produce around 9.8 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) of oil in March, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told the Financial Times.