Drilling Industry Responds to Obama’s Call for Transparency

transparencyLess than 24 hours after President Obama called for full disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the drilling industry held its first public meeting to roll out FracFocus.org, an online database that does just what the President requested. The meeting, held in Williamsport, PA, brought together drilling companies, environmental engineers and other experts, along with the public, to answer questions and address people’s concerns.

FracFocus.org was created by the drilling industry as a national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry where the public can look up information about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on a well-by-well basis. Want to know specifically what chemicals have been used to drill a well near you? Head over to FracFocus.org and find out—it’s that simple.

Although President Obama called for full disclosure of fracking chemicals for drillers who drill on public lands, five states already require full chemical disclosure via FracFocus.org for drilling within their borders: Colorado, Montana, Louisiana, North Dakota, and as of February this year, Texas. In Pennsylvania, members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) are also required to disclose chemicals using FracFocus.org as a condition of their membership. Most of the Marcellus Shale drilling in PA is done by MSC members.

Planning efforts for the Williamsport meeting began nearly a month ago by Energy In Depth, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition, American Petroleum Institute, and America’s Natural Gas Alliance to organize a public roll-out of FracFocus.org, which was launched in 2011. These types of events bring the industry’s disclosure efforts directly to the communities where production is occurring, showing community members how to use FracFocus.org, and providing direct access to industry professionals and members of the Ground Water Protection Council.

The Williamsport event highlighted the latest technologies and best practices being used in shale gas drilling. Speakers talked about efforts to protect groundwater, recycling more of the water used in fracking, the use of closed-loop systems (where fracking fluid never touches the surface and fumes are contained in closed tanks), and the use of green completions (new technologies used to recover more of the gas).

Tom Shepstone, Energy in Depth Northeast Marcellus Campaign Manager, offered the following statement regarding the event:

Today we join together to bring together countless technical experts from throughout the natural gas industry to discuss disclosure, and technical innovations, many of which were widely implemented for the first time in the Marcellus Shale.

Continued responsible development of this world class resource has helped entire communities, like Williamsport, see economic promise for the first time in generations while increasing U.S. energy security and transforming the way our industry conducts operations and engages the public.

We are excited to partner with other organizations in hosting this event and we look forward to continuing these efforts in the coming months to help build greater understanding of natural gas development from the nation’s shale resources.

More events like the one in Williamsport are planned.

Note: FracFocus.org and Energy in Depth are sponsors of MDN.