A review of the Louisiana program regulating the hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) of oil and gas wells has concluded that the program is well managed; however, some recommendations for improvements were made.

The review was conducted by a six-person team appointed by the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, or STRONGER Inc., a non-profit organization that conducts voluntary state reviews of oil and gas environmental regulations. The team consisted of three members and three observers representing environmental groups, state regulators and the oil and gas industry. Thirteen additional people attended the review.

“The review team has concluded that the Louisiana hydraulic fracturing program is, over all, well-managed, professional and meeting its program objectives,” said Lori Wrotenbery, director of the oil and gas conservation division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, who served as chairman of the review team. “We believe several aspects of the [Louisiana] Office of Conservation and its operations merit special recognition.”

The Louisiana hydrofracking regulatory program was singled out for its operations in the areas of prompt review of policies and adjustment of regulations in response to Haynesville Shale development, water resource use monitoring and reporting, actions to increase recycling opportunities, and public education and outreach.

The review team has also made recommendations for improvements to the Office of Conservation hydrofracking program concerning the review of casing and cementing standards, including surface casing requirements; immediate reporting of problems and subsequent reporting of volumes, pressures and materials used; structured training for field inspectors; and spill prevention and control plans.

STRONGER has conducted similar reviews of regulatory practices in Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania (see Shale Daily, Feb. 28). The organization was formed in 1999 to advance the state review process.

Copies of the reviews are available by contacting Michael Nickolaus at mnickolaus@gwpc.org, or (405) 516-4972.