Republican News

Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released an analysis of the important role water resources play in Iraq’s plans to expand its production of oil.

“That oil production is the main source of revenue for Iraq is common knowledge, but perhaps overlooked is the fact that access to water resources plays a vital in that oil production,” Murkowski said. “It’s important in Iraq – just as it is here – that we continue to seek innovative solutions to optimize water use for energy production.”

The report, entitled Oil and Water do Mix: The Iraq Example for Challenges Associated with the Energy-Water Nexus, is available here. Highlights include:

  • ISIS has recently attempted to seize Iraq’s main dams, waterways, and other critical water infrastructure. If successful, ISIS would control the water needed to sustain life and produce oil and other energy resources;
  • In order to meet the country’s planned increase of oil production of 9.5 million barrels per day by 2017, Iraq also needs to increase the amount of water it has on hand as part of the production process. On average it takes 1.5 barrels of injected water to extract one barrel of oil; and
  • The amount of surface and groundwater currently available in Iraq for oil production is not enough to sustain production expansion. Seawater from the Gulf Coast could augment or replace altogether freshwater supplies.

The report concludes:

“Advanced technological solutions that are based on the best available data, research, development and demonstration are crucial to ensure that these industrial and public water supplies are sustainable and guaranteed for many years to come. Public and private stakeholders around the world should work together to ensure the application of water treatment, reclamation and reuse to stretch limited freshwater supplies.”

The report follows Murkowski's report on the energy-water nexus released in May. In June, Murkowski advanced the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act (S. 1971), which would establish a home in the federal government for addressing issues related to the energy-water nexus, while also engaging external stakeholders and the private sector. Earlier this fall, Murkowski also released staff reports calling attention to the relationship between global oil outages and turmoil, the deteriorating security situation in Iraq as documented by public energy reporting, and that analyze ISIS black market oil sales. ‎