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Oil and gas play under way near Ojinaga

February 27th, 2014 under Top Stories

PRESIDIO, OJINAGA, Chih., Mex. – Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) Chihuahua has drilled 29 exploration wells in the basin of Ojinaga and Ceballos, most of which demonstrate the feasibility of shale gas extraction using the fracking method, according to news reports in the Heraldo de Chihuahua, El Diario de Chihuahua, and the Alpine Daily Planet.

Officials say there are more than 18 trillion cubic meters found in the first step, according to Ernesto Guerrero Lestarjette, president of Association of Geologists Chihuahua. Lestarjette shared the information at a meeting of researchers from UT-El Paso and universities in Chihuahua and Coahuila.

“With this information, we can say that we are seeing the most important change in history, not only in Ojinaga and neighboring towns, but throughout the state,” he said, adding that Pemex is waiting for “secondary” approvals to determine which companies will take on the work that he expects will “trigger economic development of a region that seemed forgotten.”

Presidio Economic Development Director Brad Newton told the Presidio International and Big Bend Sentinel newspapers on Wednesday that he hasn’t been officially briefed on the matter, but has read the Mexican news reports.

“Presidio is open for business,” and a petroleum service segment could be good for the city’s economy, he said. “Let’s wait and see how this pans out.”

He added, “It would be good for Presidio if it creates business,” such as oil and gas servicing companies.

“It would be a great way to get natural gas for the city,” he said. The growing Presidio County border community doesn’t have the fuel, and the commodity would go a long way in the economic development of the city.

Newton said a chile processing plant wants to locate in Presidio but it needs a viable supply of natural gas.

“Of course, traffic problems and environmental concerns would be a trade-off,” he said.

Lestarjette said that details remain out of the public domain although “we know that the data obtained by Pemex wells gave positive information … [and the impact will be] many billions of dollars. This will affect all economic areas, [including] hotels, restaurants, shops and the people who provide services, etc.”

He added that the points most discussed so far are water, protection of the environment and the social impact on the area.

To date, no reports have been made public about the feasibility of fracking/drilling Brewster County. It is known that some wells have been drilled; what they’ve found has not been firmly established.

For Brewster, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties, the possibility of finding oil or oil shale is definitely a very sharp two-edged sword. Oil drilling and fracking would certainly increase the tax base. On the other hand, it would deplete water supplies. With the oilfields, also, are two other potential threats, potential for environmental changes, and a boom-and-bust economy.

In a related matter, earlier in February, the Mexican Petroleum Institute said it is conducting a study to determine what the effects of fracking would be in the Ojinaga area.

Speaking in Chihuahua, Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, said there is a revolution of hydrocarbons going on in the United States. He said he expects the United States, because of the fracking technique, will go from importer to exporter of petroleum products.

He said the U.S. might soon produce as much oil as Saudi Arabia, an idea once unimaginable.

“That has led to technological innovation that allowed extracting gas from shale rocks are also abundant in northern Mexico,” he said. “They are part of a geological formation called Eagle Ford, which comes from Alabama, takes us through Northern Mexico (Chihuahua border) and reaches Tampico.”

Ojinaga and other municipalities of Chihuahua and other neighboring states have rich shale gas, oil shale and oil, Coldwell said.

“The study will also give us the information that indicate the same wealth of oil and gas in the United States, is also on the Mexican side, because it is within this formation known as Eagle Ford,” he concluded.

The investment for the completion of these studies is $230 million and the results will be known in early 2015.

“The concern is because they need lots of water [for fracking],” he said.

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One Response to “Oil and gas play under way near Ojinaga”

  1. Doc Cactus says:

    What the world doesn’t need is more fossil fuel
    Between the coal mine near Piedras Negras and this, the Big Bend and surrounding areas are doomed to a future of pollution and destruction and unhealthy living much like Midland Odessa. This ruse of more jobs and more prosperity will be matched by price gouging everywhere. That is the biggest perpetuated lie of all.

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