Apache has taken a lead role in encouraging the development of a national chemical registry for hydraulic fracturing in the United States that is now available online at www.FracFocus.org.
Through July 2012, Apache posted 625 frac jobs on FracFocus.org, including 375 for 2012 completions and 248 from 2011, or 75 percent of all Apache frac jobs in 2011. Apache expects to post all of its U.S. frac jobs, said Cal Cooper, manager of special projects.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process used after an oil or gas well is completed that uses fluid and material to create small fractures in low-permeability formations to stimulate production. Water and sand make up 98 to 99.5 percent of the fluid used in hydraulic fracturing along with some chemical additives. The exact formulation varies from well to well. FracFocus.org has a chart of the chemicals most commonly used in hydraulic fracturing.
The Web-based system publishes detailed information concerning chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on a well-by-well basis. The project was initiated jointly by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council, organizations representing state energy and water regulators.
Since its April 1, 2011, launch, FracFocus.org has emerged as the most user-friendly tool among several community right-to-know databases. It was designed to provide easy access by non-technical users and includes an interactive map to locate each well. Data available for each well completion include:
Apache has been a leader in successful legislative efforts in several states to require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids. In Texas, the company supported adoption of Texas Railroad Commission regulations requiring disclosure on FracFocus.org of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing beginning in 2012.
Apache has worked closely with vendors to encourage them to develop and use chemicals with concentrations that are not harmful to the environment. The company also helps vendors develop procedures that will ensure that data from all of the company’s well completions are submitted to the website. Some companies’ early efforts were more effective than others, and Apache continues to work with its vendors to assure full and accurate disclosure of all chemicals used.
Bloomberg’s recent analysis of FracFocus.org filings submitted by Apache and other operators showed incomplete reporting during the period of April 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2011, when the program was new and voluntary. The program did not become mandatory in Texas until the first quarter of 2012. Oklahoma will start requiring filings in 2013.
Now that service providers have internal procedures to track and provide chemical disclosure information required by Texas law and Railroad Commission regulations, it is relatively easy for them to revisit data from earlier jobs and create FracFocus disclosure forms, Cooper said. “We are convinced FracFocus is really working in Texas, and we fully expect to reach our goal of 100 percent disclosure from Jan. 1, 2011, for all states where we operate.
“Apache’s U.S. regions and service companies have worked very hard to develop systems to get this important information on FracFocus.org, and the transparency this provides will help build public confidence in the industry’s ability to operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” he said.