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Two Energy Executives Call for Disclosure of Chemicals Used in Fracturing

Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, and John Pinkerton, CEO of Range Resources, called for the industry to publicly disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.  A bill recently introduced in Congress, the FRAC Act, would require disclosure of frac chemicals.  (See my prior post on the FRAC Act here.)

The safety of chemicals used in fracing wells has been questioned in areas of Pennsylvania and New York, where concerns have been raised about possible contamination of drinking water. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently sent a notice of violation to Cabot Oil & Gas stemming from two spills of LGC-35, a lubricant used in fracing wells. One spill was reportedly between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons, the other between 5,000 and 5,900 gallons. Halliburton has reported that LBC-35 is a potential carcinogen. The Pennsylviania DEP has ordered Cabot to halt all hydraulic fracturing in Susquehanna County until the company has satisfied the DEP that it has taken necessary safety measures.  New York has imposed a moratorium on new Marcellus Shale drilling permits until it completes a study and new environmental regulations.

McClendon said that the industry needs to “demystify” fracing. “We need to disclose the chemicals that we are using and seaqrch for alternatives to the chemicals we are using.” Pinkerton said that oilfield service companies impose confidentiality agreements on producers when they contract to provide fracing operations; “It’s a little silly to be honest.” A spokesman for Schlumberger said that disclosure is limited by agreements with the firms supplying the chemicals. A spokesman for Haliburton said that the different chemical makeup of the compounds is proprietary information. “We make a significant investment in developing effective fracturing fluid systems and we are careful to protect the fruits of the company’s research and development efforts.”

See Reuters article.

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