LONDON: The development of shale gas and oil in countries which have the largest resources in the world could be curtailed due to the lack of available water and increased competition to source it, US-based think tank World Resources Institute (WRI) said.
In the United States, the extraction of unconventional oil and gas from shale rocks has revolutionised the country’s energy production in recent years, diminishing the need for imports and lowering energy bills.
Globally, known shale deposits can increase technically recoverable natural gas resources by as much as 47 percent and recoverable oil resources by 11 percent, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Hoping to increase domestic fossil fuel production and thereby energy security, other countries, including China and Britain, are starting to explore the commercial potential of their shale reserves.
However, as countries increase shale oil and gas exploration, a lack of water availability could curtail development, WRI said in a report published on Tuesday.
The report ranked water stress in 20 countries with the world’s largest shale oil and gas resources and water availability in every area where shale could potentially be extracted in the 11 countries pursuing, or most likely to pursue, exploration.
Water stress is defined as the ratio of total water withdrawals relative to available renewable surface water.