The dizzying growth of Añelo, a town in southwest Argentina, driven by the production of shale oil and gas in the Vaca Muerta geological reserve, has slowed down due to the plunge in global oil prices, which has put a curb on local development and is threatening investment and employment.
The emergence of fracking has modified the global market for fossil fuels. But the plunge in oil prices has diluted the effect, in a struggle that experts in the United States believe conventional producers could win in the next decade.
U.S. activist Vera Scroggins has been sued five times by the oil industry, and since October 2013 she has faced a restraining order banning her from any properties owned or leased by one of the biggest players in Pennsylvania’s natural gas rush, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation.
“People don’t know what ‘fracking’ is and there is little concern about the issue because it’s not visible yet,” said Gabino Vicente, a delegate of one of the municipalities in southern Mexico where exploration for unconventional gas is forging ahead.
One of the promises made by the leaders of the world's seven richest nations when they met at Schloss Elmau in Germany earlier this week was an energy transition over the next decades, aiming to gradually phase out fossil fuel emissions this century to avoid the worst of climate change.
Thousands of people in Spain have organised to protest the introduction of “fracking” – a controversial technique that involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale rock to release gas and oil.
Despite the precipitous fall in global oil prices, Argentina has continued to follow its strategy of producing unconventional shale oil, although in the short term there could be problems attracting the foreign investment needed to exploit the Vaca Muerta shale deposit.
Multinational oil and gas companies are engaged in a quiet but broad attempt to prepare the groundwork for a significant global expansion of shale gas development, according to a study released Monday.
Shale fever and the political chess among major oil producers and consumers have put OPEC in one of the most difficult junctures in its 54 years of history.
In Argentina they call it “yeil”, the hispanicised version of “shale”. But while these unconventional gas and oil reserves are seen by many as offering a means to development and a route towards energy self-sufficiency, others believe the term should fall into disuse because the global trend is towards clean, renewable sources of energy.
Pomerania in northern Poland is famous for its unpolluted environment, fertile soils and historic heritage. So far, these valuable farmlands have been free from heavy industry but that situation might change as a shadow looms over the lives of Pomeranians.
Unconventional oil and gas reserves in Vaca Muerta in southwest Argentina hold out the promise of energy self-sufficiency and development for the country. But the fracking technique used to extract this treasure from underground rocks could be used at a huge cost.
Production here has skyrocketed so fast that for now the installations of the YPF oil company at the Loma Campana deposit in southwest Argentina are a jumble of interconnected shipping containers.
The new legal framework for Mexico’s oil industry has not placed controls on the use of harmful chemicals in the extraction of unconventional fossil fuels, and environmentalists and experts fear their consumption will increase in an industry that is opening up to private capital.
Scientists warn that large-scale fracking for shale gas planned by Mexico’s oil company Pemex will cause a surge in seismic activity in northern Mexico, an area already prone to quakes.