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Mexico OKs non-hydraulic oil extraction

Aug. 28, 2012 at 4:25 PM   |   Comments

MEXICO CITY, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Mexico is giving the go-ahead to U.S. Chimera Energy Corp. to deploy its new non-hydraulic shale oil extraction technology in its Chicontepec Basin.

The technology is seen by the industry as a game-changing method of extracting hydrocarbons from shale without adverse effects on ground water resources and the environment.

Hydrocarbons produced from shale in the process known as hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, have sparked some of the hottest debates in the energy industry. Critics say fracking can poison ground water resources, destabilize land and even cause earthquakes -- claims the industry disputes.

Chimera says its non-hydraulic method can replace fracking. Petroleos Mexicanos is to be the first major recipient of the new technology.

Chimera says it has begun shipping equipment to deploy the system at PEMEX Central Tajin Area wells Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in the Chicontepec Basin of Mexico after receiving permission from the Mexican company.

The Chicontepec Basin is considered Mexico's largest certified hydrocarbon reserve, totaling more than 139 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Chimera says its non-hydraulic extraction system is an "unprecedented" shale oil extraction system designed to safely and economically replace hydraulic fracturing without negative environmental impacts.

The new process uses no water and also doesn't use steam, LPG gel, natural gas or the pumping of anything hot into the well.

PEMEX is working with Chimera to market and utilize the method throughout Latin America.

Non-hydraulic extraction has recently emerged to be asserted as a cheaper and more effective extraction method that doesn't affect groundwater.

Chimera says it is in the process of re-engineering the new method for mass production, relicensing and sales.

Hydraulic fracturing was first used in 1947 but the modern method that gave rise to the new energy production industry was pioneered in Barnett Shale, Texas, in 1997.

Induced hydraulic fracturing has found support and also provoked bitter opposition.

Supporters say the method can release vast amounts of formerly inaccessible hydrocarbons. Opponents of the technology say it has varied and unpredictable environmental impact, including contamination of ground water, risks to air quality, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flowback and the health effects of these.

Hydraulic fracturing remains banned in several countries, including France, and is restricted in parts of the United States.

In the United States, controversy has triggered calls for investigations into ties between the hydrocarbons industries and academic institutions conducting research into shale resources. Professors and staff at the State University of New York at Buffalo recently requested further information on the founding and funding of the school's Shale Resources and Society Institute.

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