Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Proposed Alaska Fracking Rules Too Strict, Industry Says

The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) is weighing stricter regulations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that, among other things, would require expanded notification of landowners before fracking begins and disclosure of chemicals used in frack fluids.

At a public hearing last week, industry concerns expressed about the proposed changes mainly focused on the disclosure/notification requirements proposed to be required in advance of a fracking operation, as well as the requirement for disclosure of frack fluid contents without a provision for trade secrets.

Numerous states have rules relating to the disclosure of frack fluid chemicals, and many provide some provision for the non-disclosure of information deemed to be a trade secret (see Shale Daily, Feb. 6; June 6, 2012; Dec. 14, 2011), according to an analysis of existing rules by law firm Vinson & Elkins.

"The proposed new [Alaska] rules differ from other states in requiring pre-approval before conducting hydraulic fracturing, requirements for investigations into other wells in the area and groundwater monitoring before and after fracturing operations, and that copies of the fracture application be provided to landowners within one-quarter mile of the operation," Alaska Oil and Gas Association Executive Director Kara Moriarty testified last Thursday, as reported by the Alaska Journal.

The proposed rules also address wellbore integrity, fluid containment, casing and cementing of wells, as well as disclosure of the intent to frack in applications for permits to drill.

AOGCC is reviewing testimony and public comments. A spokesperson told NGI's Shale Daily she did not know when the commission might decide on the rules or revisions to them; however, she allowed that any action was at least two weeks away.

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