Photo: American Rivers


Despite the fact that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López (AMLO) has repeatedly said that the state-run oil venture Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) will no longer use fracking practices to extract oil, Pemex on Wednesday, Sept. 15, presented a request for 11.657 billion pesos for a new fracking extraction project in 2022.

The request represented a budget increase of 389 percent compared to 2021.

The fracking technique has been used for years around the world, including in Pemex, and it allowed U.S. oil production to skyrocket from the exploitation of basins such as Eagle Ford and Permian, in Texas.

According to the 2022 Budget Project, Pemex requested 11.657 billion pesos for an oil and gas project in shales, an increase of 389 percent compared to the 2.399 billion pesos requested in 2021.

“(The project) covers the provinces of Sabinas, Burro Picachos, Burgos, Tampico, Misantla, Veracruz and Chihuahua. Its objective is to evaluate the unconventional resources of oil and gas in ancient shale deposits. The estimated prospective resource of this project is 60.2 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent,” the Pemex request stated.

Gabriel Ruiz, lawyer and partner in the Holland & Knight Energy Practice, said that this technique has been used by Pemex since the 1980s, and beyond political statements, there is no legal provision that prohibits the use of this technique to exploit hydrocarbons.

“After the natural gas contingency last February, it could be that this decision to increase the budget to increase the production of national natural gas and perhaps stop importing something from Texas, that could be one of the motivations,” he said.

David Madero, energy sector consultant, added that this hydrocarbon exploitation technique is widely used throughout the world and in Pemex, as it is the most suitable option for certain types of fields.

In the case of the United States, he highlighted that fracking evolved with the use of new technologies, sands and other elements that better break the rock to extract the hydrocarbon, in addition to performing horizontal fractures.

“If Pemex is asking for a budget it is because the company is going to start applying it,” he said.

“The problem is how to make it compatible with what the president said that this would not be done in Mexico.”

López Obrador has repeatedly pointed out that fracking is not allowed in Mexico and on May 20, 2020, he stated that the practice had already been eliminated.

Another project considered in the PEF, which requires rock fracturing, in the Gulf of Mexico for which Pemex requested an 3.555 billion pesos.

Leave a Reply