John Pinkerton will step down as CEO of Range Resources by the end of this year. Having been in the industry for two decades, and with nothing to lose, he minces no words and spoke bluntly at a recent conference about the need for energy companies to fully disclose all of the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing. He said there are no secrets and everyone uses pretty much the same fracking recipes:
John Pinkerton, who runs shale gas producer Range Resources Corp., has no time for fracking secrecy, and his notoriously tight-lipped industry is opening up a bit for fear of a regulatory crackdown.
Much of the public concern surrounding hydraulic fracturing stemmed from the scanty disclosure of the chemicals in the frac fluid that makes it all work. Oilfield services companies cite proprietary reasons for holding back their recipes.
"That whole competitive thing is the biggest bunch of bunk I ever heard, and I think the services companies ought to be ashamed of themselves," Range’s chief executive told investors this month. "It has nothing to do with competitiveness."
He said everyone who does frac jobs – blasting sand and chemical-laced water into wells drilled in shale rock to release oil and gas – essentially uses the same ingredients.
"This is not some secret sauce that nobody knows about," Pinkerton said in comments webcast from the Barclays Capital CEO Energy Power Conference in New York. "There are very few secrets in this business."
His blunt view clashed with the lighthearted conclusion to a presentation by the two top executives of frac specialist Halliburton Co just a few hours earlier: The pair took sips of a fracking fluid made of materials from the food industry.
Halliburton said that in response to public interest, it had launched its own website disclosing chemicals used in fracking in different parts of the country.
Exploration and production companies now disclose the chemicals used on frac jobs – except those deemed "trade secrets" – at //fracfocus.org.*
*Ocean Resources/Calgary Herald (Sep 26, 2011) – Fracking pushback opens energy firms