Secrecy breeds suspicion. Conversely, transparency breeds trust.
So it is with hydraulic fracturing. Devon is firmly convinced that the more people know about this 60-year-old process, the more comfortable they will feel about it.
That is why Devon fully supports a chemical disclosure registry website for hydraulic fracturing. The website, www.FracFocus.org, was created by the Ground Water Protection Council, composed of state regulators, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, composed of the governors of energy-producing states.
On that site, you can look up wells drilled by any of the more than 40 companies that voluntarily provide data. Devon was among the first companies to supply information. Several companies, including Devon, are developing tools to streamline the process of uploading data to the registry. The result will be a more exhaustive listing of wells completed with hydraulic fracturing.
Although frack fluid typically consists of 99.5 percent sand and water, the exact makeup varies from site to site. The precise mix is dictated by the formation, the nature of the well and the experience of the hydraulic fracturing vendor.
The website’s disclosure registry provides not only data, but context. Each listed well details the water amount needed for fracking, the additives used, their purpose and the percentage that each additive comprises of the total fluid amount. You can search for wells by state and county or by operator. The latitude and longitude for each well also is provided to pinpoint the location.
“We at Devon have long believed there was a need for a central repository through which companies could voluntarily report data about hydraulic fracturing fluids. FracFocus.org fulfills that need. Created by regulators, this site helps remove the mystery about a process that is vital to America’s energy independence,” said Bill Whitsitt, Devon’s executive vice president of public affairs.
In addition to its chemical disclosure registry, FracFocus.org contains information about water needed for hydraulic fracturing and the methods of protecting groundwater, such as cementing and casing. The site also provides links to each state’s regulatory agencies for oil and natural gas operations.
The site went live in April 2011. In its first four months, the site posted data on more than 3,500 wells and received more than 45,000 unique views. Additionally, two states — Texas and Montana — have determined that oil and gas operators can disclose information through FracFocus.org to meet reporting requirements.