PITTSBURGH (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy said Friday that it welcomes the decision by oil and gas industry supplier Baker Hughes to disclose all chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluid. But Halliburton, a major competitor in the field, isn't committing to such disclosure.
Deputy Assistant Energy Secretary Paula Gant said that Baker Hughes' move "is an important step in building public confidence" and the department "hopes others will follow their lead."
The oil and gas industry has said the fracking chemicals are disclosed at tens of thousands of wells, but environmental and health groups and government regulators decry a loophole that allows companies to hide chemical "trade secrets."
Houston-based Halliburton said Friday that it's studying the move by Baker Hughes, which is also based in that city. Halliburton said it had an interest in protecting "our intellectual property and the substantial investment it represents" and will examine the new Baker Hughes format for its ability to protect such investments.
Baker Hughes said it now 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.
Baker Hughes spokeswoman Melanie Kania wrote in an email that it will take "several months" for the new policy to take effect. She said the end result will be a "single list" that provides "all the chemical constituents" for frack fluids, with no trade secrets.