Even though laws in many states, including Oklahoma, require oil and gas service companies to disclose the chemical mix they use in hydraulic fracturing fluid, there’s an exception for trade secrets. But now, despite that out, Baker Hughes has decided to make all the chemicals it uses known.
From The Associated Press‘ Kevin Begos:
The oil and gas industry has said tracking chemicals are disclosed at tens of thousands of wells, but environmental and health groups and government regulators say a loophole that allows companies to hide chemical “trade secrets” has been a major problem.
A statement on the Baker Hughes website said the company believes it’s possible to disclose 100 percent “of the chemical ingredients we use in hydraulic fracturing fluids without compromising our formulations,” to increase public trust.
In a separate story, The Associated Press on Friday also reports Halliburton — one of Baker Hughes major competitors — is also studying the possibility of disclosing all of the chemicals it uses. But a statement from the company says it has “an interest in protecting our intellectual property and the substantial investment it represents” and will watch how things go with the Baker Hughes disclosure.
It’s unclear whether the move by Baker Hughes will have a domino effect for the rest of the oilfield service industry, including the biggest players in Oklahoma, where — as in many states — companies are required to report the chemicals they use to the website FracFocus.org.
The Associate Press reports “84 percent of the wells registered on FracFocus invoked a trade secret for at least one chemical” when the U.S. Energy Department looked into the issue in March. And there is a caveat:
But Goldstein noted one “major hedge” in the Baker Hughes position, since the company said it will provide complete lists of the products and chemical ingredients used in frack fluids “where accepted by our customers and relevant governmental authorities.