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Expand chart
Adapted from Rystad Energy Shale Intel – Water Management Services; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The amount of water needed for hydraulic fracturing operations has more than doubled in recent years and is slated to top 6 billion barrels in 2021, the consultancy Rystad Energy said in a note.

Why it matters: It's a metric of the massive scale of the U.S. oil boom that has sent production to record levels. That's largely thanks to growth in shale formations — most notably the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico — where hydrocarbons are pried loose using high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals.

What's next: A Rystad analyst said in the note that the industry will be able to get the water it needs as production grows and water demand soars with it.

  • "This surge is driven by both increased activity and higher proppant intensity. But even with such steep growth, market concerns about sourcing challenges and bottlenecks appear to be minimal,” Rystad SVP Ryan Carbrey said in a statement.

However, the report also warns of looming constraints for dealing with wastewater that comes out of wells.

  • "With produced water in the Permian set to increase by a third by 2021 there will be local disposal constraints, but at a macro level spare disposal capacity will remain," it states.

The big picture: The volumes of water needed to support the growth of shale production has long been an ecological concern.

Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration forecast that oil production from shale formations would rise by 62,000 barrels per day in February to reach 8.18 million barrels per day.

  • Via S&P Global Platts, the forecast rise of 23,000 barrels per day in the Permian basin "would be the lowest rate of monthly growth the EIA has forecast for the Permian since September 2016."

Go deeper: Study finds surging water volumes needed for fracking boom

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
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Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

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The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

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Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.