EPA Requests Info on Hydraulic Fracturing; Oklahoma Energy Officials Wary

Article excerpt

Oklahoma energy officials are wary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request for information about the chemical composition of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA issued a voluntary information request to nine national and regional hydraulic fracturing service providers regarding hydraulic fracturing - BJ Services, Complete Production Services, Halliburton, Key Energy Services, Patterson-UTI, PRC Inc., Schlumberger, Superior Well Services and Weatherford LLC. The EPA requested the information be provided on a voluntary basis within 30 days. The agency also asked the companies to respond within seven days to inform the agency whether they will provide all of the information sought.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to stimulate oil and natural gas production. Some environmental groups claim the technique can contaminate groundwater and want the federal government to regulate it.

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state's largest industry advocacy group with more than 2,000 members, represents a number of exploration and productions companies that use the technique. The use of hydraulic fracturing has increased over the last decade in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and the Northeast.

OIPA President Mike Terry said the EPA studied hydraulic fracturing six years ago and determined the process poses no risk to drinking water.

"Hydraulic fracturing is the key to unlocking new energy supplies in Oklahoma and across the nation," Terry said. "The EPA's new study will prove the process is a sound, safe and state-regulated practice and, hopefully, put an end to public and political efforts to add costly and unneeded regulations on the oil and natural gas industry. …

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