Recent Talk About Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals
You may have read that February 1, 2012, marked the first day that oil and gas companies operating in Texas are required to publically post the contents of the fluid used in hydraulic fracturing. What you may not know is that many companies have been making voluntary disclosures for months, some on an informative website called FracFocus.org, and some on their own company websites. In fact, the Groundwater Protection Council and the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission have sponsored FracFocus.org, a “chemical disclosure registry,” as a voluntary repository for this type of data for more than a year.
The new Texas House of Representatives bill, HB3328, was authored by a bipartisan group of State Representatives, including Representatives Jim Keffer, Myra Crownover, Lon Burnam, Tan Parker and Mark Strama. The Railroad Commission of Texas expedited the implementation of the rules, which would normally have taken over a year, so that reporting could begin this year. The bill, which had the support of the natural gas and oil industry in Texas, has been acclaimed as groundbreaking and a template for other states to adopt.
FracFocus.org, which contains data on wells in many states, was designed to be easy for everyone to use as they seek information about wells in their area. A user selects the state, county and an operator to begin the process. A map then displays well locations and the user can select a well of interest. From there, it is an easy click to read the details, which include the total vertical depth of the well, the volume of water that was used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and the composition of the hydraulic fracturing fluid.
FracFocus.org’s data confirms that the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluid is exactly what has been reported for years. The content of frac’ing fluid hasn’t changed from the basic balance of 99.5% water and sand, and 0.5% chemicals. Additionally, the data continues to note that the simple chemicals used in frac’ing are about a half-dozen in number and serve to act as friction reducers, scale and corrosion inhibitors, biocides and surfactants.
Be sure to check out the site for information, including knowledge about chemical content. Whether you have known it for years, or are just reading more on the issue, you can confirm that the balance of water to chemical in frac’ing is low—and that oil and gas companies are tracking it willingly.