About 90 percent of wells in the U.S. are fracked, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Each component of fracking fluid does something different, such as killing bacteria or preventing corrosion. As fracturing evolves, engineers have found substances besides synthetic chemicals to perform the functions, said Colorado State University environmental engineering professor Ken Carlson.
“The thing I took away is the industry is stepping up to plate and taking these concerns seriously,” Carlson said.
Companies have resisted disclosing exact recipes for fracking fluid for competitive reasons. Those who post disclosures on FracFocus, a public online registry, can exclude some chemicals. Halliburton's website says CleanStim's ingredients include enzyme, exthoxylated sugar-based fatty acid ester, inorganic and organic acids and sulfonated alcohol.