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Drought Leaves Texas Dryer than Ever, Oil Companies Suffer

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted June 16, 2011

Texas is facing a huge problem in the oil and gas industry.

In the midst of an oil boom, the state is seeing the third-largest drought in recorded history.

Rainfalls have maintained record lows and will continue to do so in areas all across the state.

The newest, most widely used method of oil production, hydraulic fracturing, requires large amounts of water.

And as oil and gas production is higher in Texas than anywhere else in the U.S., this drought is extremely problematic for domestic production in general.

Water levels were so low at the beginning of the month areas around San Antonio were required to cut their water use by 30%.

In Laredo, one of the hardest-hit areas, water is coming from reserves from tropical storms last summer.

The Eagle Ford shale is causing the most problems.

The fracking process injects water mixed with sand and chemicals into shale deposits in order to release natural gas trapped within.

And according to deputy executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board, Robert Mace, Eagle Ford alone requires 13 million gallons, as he told Bloomberg.

That’s enough to supply close to 250 adults for a year, says Mace, putting it in perspective.

Oil companies are doing everything they can to get at water.

Some companies, like Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), are recycling the fluids used for fracking in order to save water, and others, like Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC), are actually replacing dirt roads with limestone so that water doesn’t have to be wasted in spraying down the roads, according to Bloomberg.

And some are trying to buy water from farmers.

But not even the farmers can afford this.

Their production is down as well, and their income is suffering as they struggle to find water for their crops.

Just as food production requires water, so does just about every form of energy production.

Everyone is scrambling to get the water, and there’s just not enough to go around.

That’s all for now,


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