Energy companies have disclosed some of the chemicals pumped into the ground to extract oil and gas at more than 1,700 locations across Texas in the first two months since the state began requiring the site-specific information. Yet the early returns have brought a collective shrug in the Eagle Ford play in South Texas, where almost every oil and gas well is hydraulically fractured – or fracked – with a brew of water, sand and chemicals.
“The regulation is fine, but it’s not going to do any good,” said David Trotter, an oil and gas attorney and a partner in the 4,500-acre Peña Creek Ranch in Dimmit County, on the western flank of the Eagle Ford. “No one will know how to interpret what things go into the frack job one way or another, whether it’s doing any harm or good.”
Oil and gas drilling has expanded rapidly in the past few years because of hydraulic fracturing. The increased activity has led to calls to disclose the cocktails used to break tightly packed rock containing oil and gas.
The reports show that drillers employ dozens of chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid and methanol, to help free oil and gas deposits in the shale rock. Chemicals, however, are a small part of the overall mix, which is mostly water and sand.