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Fracking Chemicals Website to Launch Next Monday

Two multi-state organizations, with the help of oil and gas companies, are preparing to launch a website Monday that will provide the public with a comprehensive list of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

The website, fracfocus.org, is being developed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).

"This is pretty unique," GWPC spokesman Mike Nickolaus told NGI's Shale Daily on Monday. "Some of the oil and gas companies have done some of this on their own in the past, and the service companies have something too, but it's not at all like this. This will be the only multi-state, multi-operator registry of this sort."

Nickolaus said that once the website is online, the public would be able to search for wells by state, county or their American Petroleum Institute (API) number.

According to Nickolaus, 20 companies -- which include producers and service companies -- have registered for the website so far, and have agreed to voluntarily upload data about their operations. Of the 20 companies, about eight or nine have already submitted their data.

"They were very helpful," Nickolaus said of the companies. "They helped us with how the forms should be set up and to make it easier for input and data entry. It's been very positive."

Asked what percentage of producers and service companies were participating, Nickolaus estimated that for shale gas it was probably more than half. But he said it was difficult to gauge at this point how much participation there would ultimately be.

"Most of the companies that are on the list right now primarily have a lot of their work in shale gas," he said. "It's difficult to say [about participation] because we don't know how far up or down the food chain this is going to go, whether it's going to go all the way down to the mom-and-pop operators or all the way up to the majors. To a certain extent it will go up to the majors, but we don't know how far down it will go."

Nickolaus said the website, which the nonprofit GWPC has been working on since last October, will also have an informational section to inform the public about the hydraulic fracturing process and explain how the chemicals are used.

"Just seeing the chemicals isn't really going to help the public very much," Nickolaus said. "They really need a little more context about what's going on."

The API announced last December that it supported the voluntary disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, and efforts by the GWPC and the IOGCC to create a registry for them. Other industry groups have also supported the move (see Shale Daily, Dec. 16, 2010; Dec. 3, 2010).

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