Hydraulic Fracturing

The EPSC membership believes hydraulic fracturing is an essential well completion technology for the development of unconventional resources, such as natural gas that is trapped in shale rock formations. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling apply the latest technologies and make it commercially viable to recover shale gas and oil. Without it, we would lose 45 percent of domestic natural gas production and 17 percent of our oil production within 5 years.

Robust state and federal regulations for hydraulic fracturing already exist. A comprehensive set of state, local, and federal laws address nearly every aspect of exploration and production. These include well design, water use, waste management and disposal, air emissions, surface impacts, health, safety, location, spacing, and operation. State regulation of oil and gas activities pre-dated federal regulation, and is particularly important because it allows laws to be tailored to local geology and hydrology. Organizations like the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environment Regulations (STRONGER) are available to help assess the overall framework of environmental regulations supporting oil and gas operations in any given state.

The contents of fracturing fluids are now disclosed. The typical fracturing fluid is approximately 90% water and 9.5% sand, with the remainder being additives that aid well production. Industry voluntarily discloses the contents of its fluids on the website www.FracFocus.org, which is run by the Groundwater Protection Council. FracFocus provides a public database that can be searched by well or well location so that concerned individuals can easily identify the constituents used to fracture specific wells. As of early 2012, nearly one hundred companies have already provided information about approximately ten thousand wells and that number increases every day.

EPSC members have been active in working with authorities to reduce conflicts between local, state and regulatory agencies and citizens over hydraulic fracturing issues. Members have sent official letters on fracturing related issues with the goal of ensuring access to oil and gas resources and environmental protections.