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I wanted to pass on two articles on shale energy that caught my attention for their significance and joint impact.  

The first article, Texas shale boom has only just begun - - puts a less heard spin on Texas shale development.  While some analysts have opined that the Texas play is mature and potentially in decline, the view described here is that an aggressive effort is underway to find new shale plays and the early results are so positive that oil production in Texas is expected to double by 2020.  “The most optimistic of people believe that we’ve only seen the beginning of a burst of technological innovation, and if you look back from 2020 to fracking techniques in 2013, by 2020 you’ll think these are sort of feudal times,” said Edward Morse, global head of commodities research for Citigroup. 

The second article, A new problem for fracking: Drillers are running out of water takes us back to the issue of water and fracking.  The article cites research examining the correlation between gas rich areas in the US and the availability of water for fracking.  “In Colorado, 92% of 3,862 wells were in areas designated as extremely high water stressed, meaning that 80% of the available water is already being drawn down for residential consumption or for industrial and agriculture use. In Texas, which is suffering through a long-running drought that has devastated cattle ranchers and farmers, 51% of wells are in high or extremely high water-stressed locations. Tarrant County, Texas, alone consumed 10% of all water used in fracking in the state, according to the report.” 

The correlation cited in the water shortage article is also true outside the US.  China, Australia and the Middle East are all blessed with huge shale deposits and each of those jurisdictions face even greater water challenges than Texas and Colorado.  Development of this resource is going to depend on better recycling techniques, creative sourcing of water, and new technology that limits the necessity of water in the fracking process.