Fracking Website Bringing Disclosures Into Focus

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Gas producers in North Texas are now required to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, and the amount of water they use to do it.

The Texas Railroad Commission is requiring the rule for any permits issued after February 1. The information will be posted on the website

Residents won’t have to wait to go through the information. Operators in Texas have been voluntarily entering information for about half the wells in the state since last year. It already reveals trends in the industry’s water use.

CBS11 went through the data for 362 wells in Tarrant County. Each well used an average of 4,051,602 gallons of water. The industry commonly says it take three to five million gallons of water to frack a well in the Barnett Shale. The data also reveals though a clear disparity in the amount each operator uses to accomplish the fracturing.

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Devon Energy only reports using about 1.6 million gallons of water per well. XTO uses 3.4 million gallons on average in its 125 wells. Major producer Chesapeake averaged 4.8 million gallons of water.

Companies and industry analysts we contacted said they had not seen a comparison between companies before, but said there was likely no single answer for the differences. A Chesapeake representative said thicker rock in the heart of the shale may account for the need for more water. A Devon representative said the company focuses on drilling in rural areas, where smaller lease agreements with mineral owners sometimes limit the length wells are drilled horizontally. Urban drillers, like Chesapeake, often sign larger blocks of leases, leading to longer horizontal drills requiring more water.

Information on the horizontal length of the drill is not included on the FracFocus site, something some critics point to as a flaw.

“There are just so many factors, we don’t really know if those numbers are truly accurate,” said Arlington’s Jane Lynn.

Judy Wood, with Fort Worth’s League of Women Voters has advocated for less water use by operators.
She said she was thrilled to hear some operators are using less water, but said any use is still a concern because of what happens to it.

“Most of it is lost,” she said. “Unless they recapture it in some way, reclaim it in some way, recycle it in some way, it is gone for good.”

The FracFocus site is designed as a chemical registry. Companies in Texas do not have to reveal chemicals used in fracking fluid though that are trade secrets. Colorado recently passed a rule requiring companies to reveal those chemicals in the event of an emergency spill. They also have to give them to doctors who are attempting to diagnose or treat a patient where the makeup of the fluid may be a factor.

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  • Anonymous

    The industry is continually working on strategies whereby they manipulate people and the laws to create the illusion that everything is safe and good. I feel so much safer now that I know ‘what’ dangerous chemicals they are injecting into the ground and under our homes and schools.

  • Nawar Alsaadi

    The solution for fraccing pollution is waterless fraccing; Gasfrac has done over a 1000 fracs with gelled propane; you don’t need any water; you don’t produce any waste fluids (no need for injection wells); no need to flare (no CO2 emissions); truck traffic is cut to a trickle from 900+ trips per well for water fraccing to 30 with propane fracs; and on top of that the process increases oil and gas production; it is a win for the industry, a win for the community and a win for the environment.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    I have a real issue with when a drill site floods that the protocol is to test for chlorides and not fracking chemicals. If you go to Wilma Subra’s new post, “Ground Water Baseline Testing for New Oil and Gas Activities”… a must read for anybocy who drinks…w a t e r !

  • Brad Hurst

    Ecosphere Technologies, Inc. has a patented technology that uses oxidation to treat frac water from an onsite, mobile unit at a rate of 80 barrels per minute (Over 4 million gallons per day) in a chemical free process, and reuse the water. It has been introduced recently in the Eagle Ford Shale, Permian Basin, Marcellus, Woodford, Barnett, etc.

    • anonymous

      This will mean even more equipment on drill sites, more activity, and more noise. The point being – we do not want our residential communities turned into dirty, unsightly industrial zones.

    • anonymous

      Sounds wonderful; however, that will mean more equipment on gas drill sites, more activity, and more noise. The point being – we do not wish to see our lovely residential communities turned into ugly, smelly industrial zones.

      • Brad Hurst

        These are high volume treatment units (one or two per site). Chemical free process that purifies all frac water and recycles it. They already have treated over 1 billion gallons. It solves water conservation issues, as well as, chemical concerns. Just passing the information on.

  • Judy Wood

    The City of Fort Worth is holding three more public forums on the topic of Salt Water Disposal…leading up to a March 6 public hearing re whether to allow gas drilling wastewater disposal within the Fort Worth city limits. The moratorium on SWD is set to expire on April 30. The massive amount of water permanently lost to the hydrologic is an issue that affects all of Tarrant County and our surrounding neighbors. See for dates and locations. The next forum is tomorrow night, February 2, at 7 p.m. Note: I am a panelist and am representing the League of Women Voters of Tarrant County. Our membership goes beyond Fort Worth.

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