Thursday, September 20, 2012

Voluntary Fracking Reporting? Bloomberg: Chemicals Not Reported, Half of All Wells “Obscured”

SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 BY  
In a little-noticed Aug 2012 report, Bloomberg News reported that gas and oil energy companies failed to comply with their own voluntary plan to disclose chemicals in their operations — and, further, failed to report on the very existence of half of their wells.
The report analyzed the efficacy of “” — a voluntary reporting mechanism designed by oil and gas companies amidst growing calls for mandatory disclosure and federal guidelines of the highly controversial technology.
“Energy companies failed to list more than two out of every five fracked wells in eight U.S. states from April 11, 2011, when FracFocus began operating, through the end of last year,” according to the Bloomberg report.
Bloomberg investigators compared corporate oil and gas well records from eight states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming — against disclosures that companies made for those states on FracFocus. More than half of new wells went unreported on FracFocus in each of three states: Texas, Oklahoma, and Montana, according to the report.

Even when wells are disclosed, important gaps were discovered in the reporting of the chemicals used in the process, many of which, such as Benzene and Toluene, are known carcinogens and highly toxic to human health.    According to the Bloomberg report:
“Gaps remain on the website even when wells are disclosed. Companies skip naming certain chemicals when they decide that revealing them would give away what they consider trade secrets. Many of the wells that are listed on FracFocus have at least one or two chemicals marked confidential. Others have far more.
“Nine undisclosed chemicals were pumped into Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO)’s Cherry Bilsky well in Gonzales County, Texas, between San Antonio and Houston, according to the website. The company also withheld the amounts of eight other chemicals used in the well. The purpose of one product, identified only as ‘EXP- F1008-10,’ is listed as ‘experimental.’”
In another case, EQT Corp. (EQT), a Pittsburgh-based Oil and Gas company, failed to disclose the chemicals it had used in the controversial Tioga well fracking operations. This was uncovered only after waste fluid from fracked wells leaked into the vicinity of the Rock Run stream, leading to state violations. (Meanwhile, Apache’s website states that “it ‘supports full disclosure” of fracking operations).