EPA will seek comments on disclosing frac fluid ingredients

This story was updated on May 9 and May 10.

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced it will seek public comment on what information could be reported and disclosed for hydraulic fracturing chemicals and mixtures and the approaches for obtaining this information.

Ideas about incentives and recognition programs that could support the development and use of safer chemicals in hydraulic fracturing also will be solicited, EPA said in a May 9 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR).

Comments will be accepted for 90 days following the ANPR’s publication in the Federal Register early next week, it indicated.

“Today’s announcement represents an important step in increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities,” said James Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

“EPA looks forward to hearing from the public and stakeholders about public disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, and we will continue working with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to ensure that we complement, but not duplicate, existing reporting requirements,” he continued.

Many oil and gas producers and their fracing service suppliers already disclose the information voluntarily at FracFocus, which the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the Groundwater Protection Council jointly operate.

More is needed

An official at Earthjustice, which 3 years ago petitioned EPA with 114 other environmental and public interest groups to require full frac fluid ingredient disclosure, said federal regulation is necessary and welcomed the agency’s announcement for two reasons.

“First, some states ask the fracing companies, not the chemical manufacturers, to disclose the chemicals in their frac fluids,” said Deborah Goldberg, managing attorney for the environmental organization’s fracing litigation program. Fracing service companies sometimes say that even they don’t know what chemicals are in the fluids because manufacturers claim it’s a trade secret, and disclosure ends there, she said.

“Second, the oil and gas industry has a bad track record on transparency, so we can’t rely on a voluntary system to get full information,” Goldberg continued. “We need an enforceable rule that requires reporting from all manufacturers and processors of chemicals used in the development process.”

She maintained, “At the very least, EPA should know everything. Also, because EPA has one of the better systems for vetting claims that the chemicals are trade secrets or otherwise confidential, required reporting increases the chances that the public will get the information too.”

In a statement issued May 9, the American Chemistry Council said, “As an industry undergoing a historic expansion made possible by increased supplies of domestic natural gas, we support policies that encourage robust production while protecting health and the environment.

CBI protection necessary

“We are committed to transparency in the disclosure of chemical ingredients of fracturing solutions, subject to protection of confidential business information (CBI),” ACC said. It said as it assesses EPA’s ANPR and develops its response, it is concerned about recent US Department of Energy decisions in which it believes transparency and CBI are “starkly out of balance.”

It noted that it told Sec. of Energy Ernest J. Moniz in an Apr. 9 letter that it believes a Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) taskforce’s recommendations discounted “the competitive value of an industry’s intellectual property regardless of whether a health or environmental concern is implicated.”

ACC said, “Its approach puts at risk the innovation that makes US products more competitive in global markets. Unfortunately, SEAB chose to support the taskforce’s flawed recommendations. We hope the administration will encourage growth and competitiveness in US manufacturing by strengthening its protection for CBI.”

But an American Petroleum Institute spokesman said a new EPA frac fluid ingredient disclosure rulemaking is unnecessary and duplicative. “Robust chemical information is already available to EPA, as well as state regulators that are the primary regulators for oil and gas operations,” he told OGJ by e-mail on May 9.

API strongly supports FracFocus, and considers the web site an important resource that hundreds of well operators use, both voluntarily and in accordance with many states’ laws, the spokesman continued. “As of Mar. 18, 821 individual companies participate in FracFocus, including 615 reporting companies that have disclosed information regarding over 68,300 oil and gas wells since 2011,” he said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Transco seeks FERC approval for New York Bay Expansion project

07/09/2015 Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC (Transco), a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, has filed an application with the US Federal E...

PDO to use solar to displace gas in thermal EOR work

07/09/2015

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) plans to use a solar plant to displace natural gas in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts in Amal oil field.

House Oversight panel subpoenas Kerry for Keystone XL documents

07/09/2015 The US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena to US Sec. of State John F. Kerry for reports, recommendations, letters, a...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices drop for fifth consecutive trading session

07/09/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices settled slightly lower on the New York market July 8 for the fifth consecutive trading session, and analysts attri...

Ending crude export ban would help rural US areas, House panel told

07/09/2015 Rural US communities generally have benefited from the nation’s crude oil production renaissance, and potentially could be helped more if restricti...

MOL completes Ithaca Norge acquisition

07/09/2015 MOL Group, Budapest, has completed its acquisition of Ithaca Petroleum Norge from Ithaca Energy Inc. for $60 million plus possible bonuses of up to...

Courts less deferential to regulatory agencies, GMU forum told

07/08/2015 US Supreme Court decisions in the recently completed term suggest that judicial deference to federal regulatory agencies is starting to recede, spe...

Husky Energy reports unplanned maintenance at Lloydminster upgrader

07/08/2015

Husky Energy Inc. reported unplanned maintenance at its Lloydminster heavy oil upgrader in Saskatchewan.

AER orders Apache Canada to address integrity of pipeline system

07/08/2015 Alberta Energy Regulator has directed Apache Canada Ltd. to address the integrity of its pipeline management system because of “failure to follow p...
White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

When Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors

register:WEBCAST


Driving Growth and Efficiency with Deep Insights into Operational Data

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Capitalizing on today’s momentum in Oil & Gas requires operational excellence based on a clear view of what your business data is telling you. Which is why nearly half* of oil and gas companies have deployed SAP HANA or have it on their roadmap.

Join SAP and Red Hat to learn more about using data to drive process improvements and identify new opportunities with the SAP HANA platform running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This webinar will also show how your choice of infrastructure impacts the performance of core business applications and your ability to achieve data-driven insights quickly and reliably.

*48% use SAP, http://go.sap.com/solution/industry/oil-gas.html

register:WEBCAST


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected