On August 30, 2017, SEMARNAT published the guidelines containing the general provisions and requirements to protect and preserve national waters and inherent public property (the "Guidelines") during the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons in non-conventional oilfields.  These guidelines will become effective on August 31st, 2017.

The Guidelines must be met and implemented by any individual or business entity engaged in the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons in non-conventional oilfields, such as oil and gas in shales, compact rocks, methane hydrate, etc.

Pursuant to these Guidelines, such individuals and business entities must obtain from the National Water Commission ("CONAGUA") the concession titles for the use of national waters or federal zones. Additionally, they must obtain authorizations for the construction of hydraulic infrastructure in river channels or federal zones managed by CONAGUA or permits for the construction of works or to discharge wastewaters into federal water bodies generated by the activities developed in the contractual zone. In some of these cases, the Guidelines establish further and additional requirements to those set out in the National Waters Law for granting such concessions and permits.

The Guidelines also state that the individuals and business entities must implement the measures for the environmental protection, including, among others: to prevent the infiltration of polluting substances in the underground and the aquifer by installing impermeable layers; the drilling of wells for the hydrologic exploration and for the integration of local and regional monitoring networks, as well as for the determination of the base line of water, etc.; in accordance with the best international practices and these Guidelines.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.