Friday, September 10, 2010

EPA to Study Fracking Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency asked companies including Halliburton Co. andSchlumberger Ltd. to disclose chemicals used to dislodge underground natural gas for a study on potential threats to drinking water.
Nine service companies were asked for information about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. agency said today in a statement. In fracturing, millions of gallons of chemically treated water are forced into underground wells to break up rock and allow gas to flow.
Gas locked in shale formations may account for 50 percent of the U.S. supply by 2035, up from 20 percent today, according to a March study by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Environmental groups say the process has tainted drinking water supplies and should be regulated by the federal government.
“The companies have different views on whether or not they should be providing this information,” Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a Washington-based policy analysis firm, said in an interview. “The EPA is nudging in everywhere they see what looks like state accommodation.”
Houston-based Halliburton said it would comply with the request, which the agency said was voluntary.
“We will, of course, fully cooperate with their request,” Teresa Wong, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said today in an e- mailed statement. “In the meantime, Halliburton supports and continues to comply with state, local and federal requirements promoting the forthright disclosure of the chemical additives that typically comprise less than one-half of one-percent of our hydraulic fracturing solutions.”
EPA’s request went to BJ Service Co., Complete Production Services Inc., Key Energy Services Inc., Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., PRC Inc., Superior Well Services Inc. and Weatherford International Ltd., according to the agency’s statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York

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