One of the worst droughts in U.S. history is hampering oil production, pitting farmers against oilmen and highlighting just how dependent on water modern U.S. energy development has become.
Over 60% of the nation is in some form of drought. Areas affected include West Texas, North Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania, all of which are part of the recent boom in North American energy production.
That boom is possible partly by hydraulic fracturing. Known as fracking for short, the controversial practice gets oil and natural gas to flow by cracking shale rock with sand, chemicals, pressure and water.
Lots of water. Each shale well takes between two and 12 million gallons of water to frack. That's 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water per well.
"We're having difficulty acquiring water," said Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas, an oil company with operations in many of the new shale regions including Bakken in North Dakota and Marcellus in Pennsylvania.
Faulkner said officials in two Pennsylvania counties have stopped issuing permits for oil companies to draw water from rivers, forcing them to go further afield to obtain the crucial resource.Read the rest of the article here.
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