One Step Ahead of the President on Disclosure and Marcellus Shale
Less than twenty-four hours after the President called for increased disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids the natural gas industry responded by gathering professionals from across the industry to engage citizens, and communities, on fracturing fluid disclosure via FracFocus.org and on the multiple best practices developed, and employed, throughout the Marcellus Shale. This first of its kind event provided presentations on the site’s utility, functionality, data inclusion and direct access to industry professionals and members of the Ground Water Protection Council. The event was a hit drawing over 200 local citizens although you would never know it from the media coverage (or lack thereof). For example, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, which is literally next door to the event space, didn’t send so much as an intern to take-in, and possibly report on, one of the largest events in Williamsport since the Little League World Series a few months ago.
One of the more interesting displays on hand was a data monitoring van which all attendees had a chance to view up close, giving them first hand experience with the extensive controls in this van, which literally controls everything going on underground in a fracturing stimulation.
Once inside, attendees were given a fluid situations bucket (good for use at the beach as well as at the well site) filled with items that have the same ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing solution.
These included real fracturing sand (proppant) from a Halliburton site and a bottle of water–the two main elements that comprise over 99% of the solution–as well as several items nearly everyone has in their home.
Take a moment to look at this sheet and see what the ingredients present in each of these is used for during a hydraulic fracturing job:
- LifeSavers candy–Guar gum, Citric acid, Petroleum distillates, Ammonium bisulfite
- Hand sanitizer–Glutaraldehyde, Borate salts, Sodium or potassium carbonate
- Toothpaste— Guar gum
- Plastic bucket and toothbrush–N, n-Dimethyl formamide
- Table salt–Sodium chloride
Marcellus Shale Industry Expo
Representatives from all facets of the natural gas industry were on-hand to answer questions from attendees during the mini-expo, including individuals from: America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA), FTS International, Halliburton, Universal Well Services, Big West Oilfield Services, Larson Design Group, RETTEW, ShaleDirectories.com, Cabot Oil and Gas, Chesapeake Energy, Chief Oil and Gas, Shell, Talisman Energy, and XTO Energy, as well as attendees from companies across the state participating in all aspects of shale development. This enabled people to get all kinds of answers from trade associations, hydraulic fracturing companies, water treatment companies, geologists, exploration and production companies and more. It was incredible to witness so many vendors coming together with the same educational goal!
As part of the evening, three presentations were given, followed by a question and answer session for attendees. You can view this in its entirety in the movie following an explanation of each presenter.
James Erb: FracFocus.org
James Erb, former Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Regulatory program and current consultant to the American Petroleum Institute, was the keynote speaker and provided a detailed explanation of FracFocus.org, including a demonstration on how to utilize the resource to find well pad by well pad disclosure information.
Less than a year-old, the FracFocus.org site has gained widespread use hosting information on over 10,160 wells and receiving more than 138,000 visitors. This will continue to grow as last year the Marcellus Shale Coalition announced that all of its members, representing 95% of Marcellus activity in the Commonwealth, will share their fracturing fluid information on FracFocus.
Roger Willis, president of Universal Well Services, provided a hydraulic fracturing control van for attendees to tour and gave a presentation on the process of hydraulically fracturing a well and the best management practices in Marcellus operations. Willis explained, “Of the 800,000 producing oil and gas wells in the United States, 70 percent of oil wells and 85 percent of natural gas wells are stimulated using the hydraulic fracturing process.”
John Felmy, Chief Economist for the American Petroleum Institute and Lycoming County native, spoke on the economic impact this industry has brought to his home region and across the country. “It is nonsense that local economies are not benefiting from Marcellus Shale development,” said Felmy. “Just take a drive down Route 6 and you can see the affects.”
Below is a movie containing all of presentations. It is an an hour and half, but well worth the time if you are interested in learning about hydraulic fracturing.
Also, you can check out this short podcast by EID’s Bill DesRosier on how to seek information on FracFocus.org.
Dan Whitten, Vice President of Strategic Communications with ANGA said:
“America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), and several of its member operators, are proud to have joined industry colleagues in participating in Wednesday’s community forum on FracFocus.org. ANGA operators are committed to transparency, and support public disclosure of the additives used in the hydraulic fracturing process through the state-run fracfocus.org website. Last night’s event was a great opportunity to further introduce Fracfocus.org and reinforce our commitment to safe and responsible development.”
In speaking on the event, EID-NE Marcellus Campaign Manager Tom Shepstone said:
“We were excited to partner on this groundbreaking event and we look forward to continuing these efforts in the coming months to help build greater understanding of natural gas development from the nation’s shale resources.”
Thank you to all of the sponsors, participants, and attendees who made this night a success! Keep an eye out for future “Let’s Talk About It” events in your area!
ICYMI: Marcellus Drilling News (Jan 26, 2012) – “Drilling Industry Responds to Obama’s Calls for Transparency”