Baker Hughes Inc. said it plans to disclose 100% of the chemical ingredients it uses in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids by providing “complete lists” of the products used, but there could be exemptions.
The disclosure plan is possible “without compromising our formations — a balance that increases public trust while encouraging commercial innovation,” the Houston oilfield services company said. It’s not a blanket plan; the disclosures would be made “where accepted by our customers and relevant governmental authorities.”
Baker, the third-largest global services provider after Schlumberger Ltd. and Halliburton Co., said it supported customers in communicating chemical information used in drilling in the most expedient way by endorsing FracFocus.org, the national chemical registry managed by the Groundwater Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (see Shale Daily, April 6, 2011).
Critics have charged that the FracFocus website offers exemptions to reporting standards by allowing companies to avoid disclosures by declaring some ingredients as trade secrets. A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) task force report in March reported that most (84%) of the wells registered on FracFocus used a trade secret exemption for at least one chemical (see Shale Daily, March 6). The number of wells in the registry rose to 62,410 in 2013 from 14,246 in 2011.
The U.S. Department of Interior is finalizing regulations for well stimulation practices on public lands, which would apply to about 700 million acres of federal lands and 56 million acres of lands controlled by recognized Native American tribes (see Shale Daily, March 4; Dec. 4, 2013). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also is developing rules to require companies making chemical substances and mixtures used in fracturing to report data (see Shale Daily, July 12, 2013).
About half of the U.S. states mandate public disclosure of fracking chemicals, including 15 that use FracFocus as a reporting tool, according to DOE.
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