New government promises to end fracking

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced on Tuesday that his incoming government will end the use of fracking within the country. The oil and gas extraction method is a common technique used in the north of Mexico but is met with criticism from around the globe for widespread environmental concerns.

The announcement came in a press conference that AMLO attended yesterday. He told the media that ‘‘we are not going to use that method anymore to extract oil,’’ when an attendee raised a question surrounding the risks of fracking, reported the Associated Press.

The process behind fracking requires a mix of water, sand and chemicals which are blasted in the ground as a means of extracting gas and oil. It is a technique that is met with considerable criticism from environmental groups particularly because of the massive use of water involved, which totals around 9,000m3 and 29,000m3 of water per each well.

Mexico’s northern states have the potential to provide a vast amount of shale gas which has been considered similar to the Texas Eagle Ford oil fields. By 2015, the country had already drilled over 924 fracking wells and the Mexican government have also recently launched a tender for further commercial development through hydraulic fracturing, marking governmental interest in the industry’s expansion.

The news acts as one of a number of new energy plans that AMLO is considering when he assumes power in December this year. During the campaign the Morena party also looked into building new oil refineries in order to enhance production levels and contribute more value to the Mexican economy. According to the Associated Press, the President-elect has also condemned the privatisation of the energy sector following a number of electricity generation contracts that were signed by private entities, taking over work from the state-owned Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). In a statement regarding the electricity contracts,  López Obrador criticised the current government for deliberately shutting down the CFE-run, and instead seeking foreign companies which have subsequently hiked the prices of electricity.

Mexico’s energy reform comes alongside AMLO’s war on corruption, which has too dogged the sector as a result of governmental scandals, theft and a mishandling of economical issues. Until political government experiences a change of hands however, the country can but anticipate what reforms the new President will actually implement.  For the time being, we can however look to AMLO’s plan 50 to see details of what he promises to change.

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