An environmental group on Wednesday decried the continued use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing, but energy industry officials dismissed the group’s study as a misleading attempt to discredit the practice that has helped launch a domestic oil and natural gas renaissance.
The Environmental Integrity Project released a report on the topic Wednesday after studying records submitted to the chemical disclosure database FracFocus.org.
FracFocus was established in 2011 as a voluntary registry by the Oklahoma City-based Groundwater Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, but regulators in Oklahoma and other states require companies to use the site to log chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.
Mary Greene, a former enforcement attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the Environmental Integrity Project review found more than 350 wells in a dozen states were fracture stimulated with diesel, even though the industry repeatedly has said that no longer occurs.
“We thought this problem was a thing of the past,” she said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. “We didn’t expect to find anything when we started down this path.”
Hydraulic fracturing is a completion process that involves injecting thousands of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, into a well to stimulate oil and gas production.
The group’s database indicated hydraulic fracturing operations at 24 wells in Oklahoma had included diesel since 2011.
The leading offender, according to the report, was an affiliate of Dallas-based Mid-Con Energy Partners LP, which operated half of the Oklahoma wells on the list.
Mid-Con Energy’s general counsel said it does not use diesel in its hydraulic fracturing operations, indicating the service company hired to complete the listed wells made a mistake in entering data into FracFocus.
Energy in Depth, an education and outreach campaign launched in 2009 by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, dismissed the Environmental Integrity Project report.
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