The black gold of Chihuahua

The state of Chihuahua has three shale oil and gas reserves in places near Villa Ahumada, Ojinaga, Aldama, and Coyame.

The black gold of Chihuahua
There are three proven reserves of conventional gas and shell in the state of Chihuahua. Image:

The state of Chihuahua has three shale oil and gas reserves, located 500 meters and up to 4 kilometers deep between Ojinaga and Coyame, Ojinaga and Aldama, and near Villa Ahumada. To the northwest of the state, in the state of Texas, the shale oil and gas basin called Waha, the largest reserve in the United States, projected with 120 years of use, is commercially exploited. From this region, large quantities of oil are obtained, as well as natural gas through the horizontal fracking system, the latter is exported in large quantities to Mexico and other parts of the United States.

Due to the geographical proximity between Texas and Chihuahua, the energy potential of the entity can be visualized. If the federal government opened the rounds again on energy, Chihuahua could raise them. For years, technical personnel of Petróleos Mexicanos reported finding proven reserves of shale gas, when they explored in search of diaphanous reserves. At the beginning of the current federal administration, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that his government would respect the contracts celebrated in the framework of the Energy Reform, but without going into details, he said that it would keep understudy the opening of new rounds. If that happens, the necessary investments could be made in Chihuahua and between 10 and 15 years more could be an important production of gas, as is done a few kilometers north in Texas, United States. Precisely from there, an important quantity of fuel is imported to Chihuahua and different states of the country.

Boosting oil production

There are three proven reserves of conventional gas and shell in the state of Chihuahua. One of the areas tested is in Ojinaga and reaches Coyame, where conventional fuel and shale gas can be found at a depth of about 500 meters. There is another reserve known as La Casita, which moves from Ojinaga to Aldama, where the only gas shell is found about 2 kilometers deep. The third is gas shale and is located in the area known as La Peña, which extends from the Ojinaga area to Villa Ahumada, at a depth of 4 kilometers. In this context, to exploit gas reserves, it would be necessary to use the fracking system, which has raised much controversy in Mexico because it is said to be very polluting. Given the position of the tectonic plates in the subsoil of Chihuahua, it would be technically necessary to use this system for the production of oil and gas.

The shale gas in brief

Shale gas is a natural gas that does not appear stored in bags, like conventional gas, but encysted inside blocks of sedimentary rocks formed from organic materials. How is it extracted? Starting from open wells to exploit conventional gas, it is drilled horizontally along the rocky block containing the gas. The walls of these perforations are covered with cement to isolate them from the aquifers and the ground Through these horizontal pipes, a valve is introduced that breaks the cement and rocks with small electrical detonations. Then, between 4 and 10 million liters of water are injected, mixed with sand and additives that improve the suspension of the sand grains in the water.