Resistance to fracking in Chihuahua, Mexico


With an estimated 600 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas and 13 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil, Mexico is one of six countries that account for almost two-thirds of recoverable shale gas in the world, and Chihuahua is one of four northern states with accessible reserves. (2) (1) Pemex began the exploration process for shale gas production in Chihuahua and elsewhere as of 2010, and with the recent constitutional reforms in Mexico that ended Pemex’s 75-year monopology, foreign companies have begun to invest in gas and oil exploration and production in Mexico, as well. (1) (3) As of February of 2014 Pemex had drilled 29 wells in Chihuahua, and officials have claimed that more than 18 trillion cubic meters were found in initial exploration. Studies undertaken on the potential of fracking in the region took in $230 million in investments and are expected to be published early in 2015. (4) Cesar Duarte, Governor of Chihuahua, supports fracking and claims that the money it brings in will help support economic and social development in the state.

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Basic Data
NameResistance to fracking in Chihuahua, Mexico
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Shale gas fracking
Specific CommoditiesLand
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project Details-29 exploratory wells initially drilled as of Feb. 2014 by Pemex

-230 million dollars invested in exploratory studies

-600 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas in Chihuahua and neighbouring states

-13 billion barrels of shale oil

-18 trillion cubic meters found in Pemex's initial exploration
Level of Investment (in USD)230,000,000+
Potential Affected Population809,000
Start Date01/01/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesPEMEX from Mexico
from United States of America
Shell Oil Company from United States of America
Halliburton from United States of America
Schlumberger from United States of America
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Chihuahua, National Action Party (PAN), Comisión de Ecología y Medio Ambiente en el Congreso local
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAlianza Mexicana Contra el Fracking
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Otherrisk of kidnapping, extortion, etc. due to control of Zeta organized crime group in region
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Otherrisk of creation of 'boom and bust' economy; risk of displacement, loss of livelihood, etc. due to increased stress on already scarce local water supplies
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
increase in academic studies highlighting negative impacts of fracking
Development of Alternatives-Alianza Mexicana Contra el Fracking has called for a ban on fracking

-Academics have called for further studies on the ecological impacts of fracking in northern Mexico
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Fracking in Chihuahua is still in the exploratory phase, though wells have been drilled. Resistance is ongoing.
Sources and Materials

Uso de agua en la extracción de gas de lutitas en el noreste de México: Retos de regulación ambiental

JL Manzanares Rivera - Estudios sociales (Hermosillo, Son.), 2014


Document called “Impacto social y ambiental del fracking” published by No Fracking Mexico, coordinated by Benjamín Robles Montoya
[click to view]

Alianza Mexicana Contra el Fracking webpage
[click to view]

Chihuahua: fractura socioeconómica en la zona del fracking (Spanish-language article)
[click to view]

La fracturación hidráulica es nociva para la salud: “Chihuahua vs fracking”, Sept 2014
[click to view]

La Jornada, Crean ciudadanos, partidos de izquierda y PAN alianza contra el 'fracking' en Chihuahua
[click to view]

Pagina Facebook Chihuahua vs Fracking
[click to view]

1. Fracking May be Coming to the Chihuahua Border, Mexican Officials Say
[click to view]

2. Fracking Fights Loom Large in Mexico
[click to view]

3. Qué daños causara el fracking en méxico? (What harm will fracking cause in Mexico?-Spanish language article)
[click to view]

4. Oil and gas play under way near Ojinaga
[click to view]

Media Links

Video published by Alianza Mexicana Contra el Fracking
[click to view]

Other Documents

Map of fracking potential in Mexico from Alianza Mexican Contra el Fracking
[click to view]

Chihuahua vs fracking Uno de los volantes en contra del fracking en Chihuahua. Fuente:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLena Weber, Lund University Human Ecology Department
Last update15/03/2018