Friday, April 22, 2011
This week has been a busy one in the world of hydraulic fracturing. Representatives Waxman, Markey, and DeGette released a report that describes "the types, volumes, and chemical contents of the hydraulic fracturing products used by the 14 leading oil and gas service companies." The report observes that between 2005 and 2009, the fourteen companies used 780 million gallons of more than 2,500 different hydraulic fracturing products, and these products ranged from common household chemicals to "extremely toxic" substances. Methanol has been the most "widely used" chemical. Much of this information already was available through summaries of chemicals used in Pennsylvania and New York, but this is the most comprehensive report to date and provides more specific information about the quantity of chemicals used than previous summaries have offered. The report concludes, for example, that "[t]he [fourteen] companies used the highest volume of fluids containing one or more carcinogens in Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma."
Also this week, the Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the "second-largest producer of natural gas," suspended hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania after a natural gas well blowout "spewed thousands of gallons of fracking fluid into a nearby creek" and farm fields, according to Reuters and the Tulsa World.