Range Resources Corp. said Wednesday it will voluntarily disclose additives to the hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracing) fluids it is using in its Marcellus Shale well stimulation activities to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The move follows numerous questions raised by environmentalists about the content of frac fluids that the industry uses.
The information will be submitted to DEP as part of Range's well completion reports and will be posted on the company's website.
"We understand that there is the perception among some that the additives used in hydraulic fracturing present a risk to the public, even though the Marcellus Shale formation is found more than a mile below the water table," said Range CEO John Pinkerton. "We are committed to achieving the proper balance of pursuing the enormous opportunity that the Marcellus Shale provides and observing a higher standard of care for the environment and the communities where we live and work."
Last month DEP posted a list of additives used in surface and fracturing operations online (see Daily GPI, June 30). The "announcement that Range intends to go even further on this issue is welcome news and represents a model that other operators in the Marcellus must follow without further delay," said DEP Secretary John Hanger.
Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber noted that the coalition has "fully supported" disclosure of hydrofracing fluids. "As demonstrated by Range Resource's announcement today, and by recent updates to Pennsylvania's well casing standards, our industry continues to actively work with the [DEP] to develop smart policies and regulations and to operate in an open and transparent manner," she said.
Range said it is using four additives in Marcellus hydrofracing. The "highly diluted and common additives" make up 0.14% of the hydrofracing fluid, with the remaining 99.86% composed of water and sand, Range said. Approximately 0.04% of the fluid and sand mixture is considered hazardous in a concentrated form, according to federal regulatory classifications, and like most common household chemical substances in diluted form, poses no harm, the company said. In partnership with its service companies, Range has reduced the number of additives and is continuing to undertake research to further refine materials used in the hydrofracing process.
"Range has been transparent in its listing of additives used at the well site, both through voluntary means and as part of the federal disclosure process enforced by OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration], DOT [Department of Transportation] and the DEP," said Ray Walker, Range senior vice president for the Marcellus Shale division. "But we also understand the historic opportunities the Marcellus makes possible, and that's why we're going even further with our efforts to voluntarily disclose additives on a well-by-well basis.
"As our website will make clear, all of the additives we use are highly diluted, carefully managed and in many cases commonly used in our everyday lives," added Walker. "We are hopeful that our voluntary disclosure will help dispel the misconceptions that have persisted and allow Range and others to deliver on the potential of this extraordinary resource base."
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