In recent years, the FracFocus website has evolved into the definitive source on what chemicals are being used during hydraulic fracturing. That’s because rather than creating state-run sites hosting this information, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and other states that have written fracking disclosure laws or regulations have ordered companies to host the information on FracFocus, instead.
So how complete is FracFocus’ information? Bloomberg took a look, and found that two of every five wells drilled since FracFocus was launched are not included in the site’s database.
In May, Pennsylvania regulators issued violations after a pit for holding waste fluid from fracked wells in Tioga County leaked into the vicinity of the Rock Run stream and the surrounding landscape. The Responsible Drilling Alliance, an activist group that tried to figure out what was in the fluids, was stymied when it checked FracFocus, said Ralph Kisberg, the group’s cofounder.
That’s because EQT Corp. (EQT), the Pittsburgh-based company that operates the Tioga wells, omitted some information about its chemicals. Of five wells it disclosed in the county, one didn’t include any identification numbers for the chemicals, and four others provided no information about the quantities of chemicals used.
“There are mistakes; some of the data is incomplete,” said Kisberg, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. “We see FracFocus as a PR effort to placate people.”
EQT staffers made some errors in manually transferring data into the FracFocus system, said Natalie Cox, the company’s director of communications. After Bloomberg News asked about the incomplete disclosures, EQT fixed the errors, Cox said. The company is committed to fully disclosing its fracking fluids, she said.