The latest version of online registry FracFocus.org is making it easier for property owners to find out what chemicals oil and natural gas companies are using in their operations.
FracFocus now allows users to search for specific chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting large amounts of water, laced with sand and chemicals, into the ground to free oil and gas from tight rock formations.
Some chemicals are known by different names, but they are listed in the database by their unique chemical abstract number.
“It's its fingerprint,” said Mike Paque, executive director of the Ground Water Protection Council. “Now you can search by it.”
The upgraded registry also lets users search for wells by name or in a specific date range.
“There's a lot more data and a lot more to look at,” said Gerry Baker, associate executive director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
The 2-year-old site, which was developed by the Oklahoma City-based Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, started as a voluntary registry, but now regulators in 14 states require companies to use it. Four others have similar rules in the works.
The new version of the site has been available for about 6 months, but the transition has been done slowly to help smaller operators adapt to the changes.
“It's the operator's responsibility to upload the data,” Paque said.
The registry now includes chemical information on more than 45,000 completed wells, including 2,374 in Oklahoma, as of May 17. That is the fifth highest total in the country.