Some sort of universal disclosure is needed throughout the oil and gas industry regarding hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently told an energy conference.

In announcing a voluntary program between his state and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) for voluntary sampling of water before and after drilling, Hickenlooper underscored the energy industry’s importance as a “bedrock” of Colorado’s economy. He took time to refute what he called biased and misinformed reports in the New York Times earlier this summer (see Shale Daily, July 11).

Hickenlooper announced a program designed to address groundwater quality concerns throughout the state that are associated with the drilling and fracking of oil and gas wells. The concerns have grown nationally with the shale oil and gas boom.

Hickenlooper said there will be no success in rebuilding public trust “without some sort of universal disclosure rules.” He said the state has met with COGA and other stakeholders, and they all are “continuing to move in that direction.

“Hopefully we will make sure that we have a hydraulic fracturing disclosure rule worked out with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission by the end of this year,” the governor said. He said he understands the resistance to perceived intrusions by government, but in this case it is imperative that the industry disclose the chemicals being used.

Hickenlooper said producers wouldn’t have to disclose chemical proportions, but they can say what the chemical components are in fracking fluids. “This would be a key part of building trust in the relationship,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure we get input from a diverse set of stakeholders to make sure what is included in the eventual rule is appropriate, not putting trade secrets at risk.

He criticized the “misinformation and tone” of news coverage earlier this year, particularly in reports on fracking and shale in the New York Times. He referred to “misstatements and clear distortions of facts” in the reports.

He said the “dynamic” for the industry and government supporters of the fracking process is to “make sure that we make it easier for the broad population to trust us and to recognize that this is a high priority and protecting groundwater is something we all take very seriously. We wouldn’t be doing hydraulic fracturing if there was a risk to groundwater.”

According to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, natural gas production in the state continues to grow. In 2004, the state produced roughly 1,096 Bcf, which grew to 1,604 Bcf in 2010.