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New rules for oil and gas operators require listing of hydraulic fracturing chemicals

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“New rules governing the oil and gas industry practice of hydraulic fracturing mean increased transparency for the public about the chemical ingredients used in the practice,” said Tom Richmond, Administrator of the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation.

“The new rules place Montana at the forefront of a national movement toward mandatory disclosure of all the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing,” Richmond said. “Operators in Montana will be required to tell us everything they’re using, not just a limited subset of chemicals.”

The five new administrative rules adopted by the State of Montana went into effect Aug 26, 2011.

The rules require oil and gas operators to provide written well-by-well disclosure information to the Montana BOGC. If companies post chemical information on FracFocus, a voluntary disclosure Web site maintained by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and meet the BOGC standards they may be granted a waiver. FracFocus is a rapidly growing site that provides well-by-well information on chemicals used. In the future, Richmond noted, the site will enable the public to search for information using a map-based interface and may allow users to compile data in a variety of ways.

“More and more companies are using FracFocus as their disclosure platform, so we want to be able to allow that for Montana operators too, as long as the Web site meets our standards,” Richmond said.

The disclosure rules ensure first responders and medical professionals quick access to information should an incident occur.

The Montana BOGC originally proposed administrative rules on May 26, 2011, to address regulatory needs for hydraulic fracturing, which is a process used to increase oil and gas well production by injecting a liquid mixture of chemicals down a well into a geologic formation under pressure. The practice causes the formation to crack, or fracture, and facilitates the flow of oil or gas into the well.

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