* Bill would require companies disclose fracking fluids
* Industry says measure will reduce natural gas output
* Green groups say fracking harms drinking water
(Refiling to add link to Factbox at end)
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, July 28 The U.S. Senate energy bill
is supposed to promote vehicles fueled by natural gas, but
industry is crying foul over provisions they say undercut a
drilling technique essential to boosting domestic gas output.
The bill proposed by Senate Democrats would force companies
using the hydraulic fracturing technique to tap shale gas to
disclose by 2012 the chemicals used when drilling each well.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects a mixture of
water, sand and chemicals into rock formations at high pressure
to force out oil and natural gas.
Environmentalists assail drillers for keeping secret the
chemicals they use in fracking, saying the mixture is toxic and
may be poisoning groundwater in the drilling process.
They argue the practice should not be exempt from the
federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Many energy companies have resisted releasing what they
consider proprietary information about the chemicals they use,
saying fracking is safe and all the fluids used in the process
are already known to regulators.
The Senate measure, while not requiring the release of the
precise formulas and amounts of fracking fluids used, still
poses legal problems for oil and gas operators, said Lee Fuller
of Energy In Depth, a leading group formed by independent
drillers to promote fracking.
"It has the potential to create a series of legal
responsibilities that operators, and even service companies,
might not be able to fulfill, especially under a scenario where
our folks are asked to post information that doesn't even
belong to them," Fuller said.
Drilling proponents argue the Senate measure will
discourage companies from developing new fracking solutions and
reduce natural gas output.
Halliburton (HAL.N) and Schlumberger Ltd (SLB.N) are two
major producers of hydraulic fracturing fluids.
Use of fracking has dramatically increased U.S. gas
production by allowing companies to drill for gas in massive
shale beds across the country.
The American Petroleum Institute said it supports some
disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing
operations, but opposes federal involvement in reporting
"We believe that this provision overreaches," API
spokeswoman Cathy Landry said. "State regulators are providing
responsible oversight for drilling operations."
The expansion of natural gas drilling across the nation has
sparked outrage in some areas, with some people near drilling
sites complaining their well water has become contaminated and
that children and farm animals have became sick.
"Citizens need to be protected from the chemicals used in
hydraulic fracturing," said Cathy Carlson, senior policy
analyst from environmental group Earthworks. Her group
applauded the inclusion of the disclosure provision in the
Not all companies are opposed to disclosure. Range
Resources Corp (RRC.N), a major U.S. shale gas producer, said
this month it would begin disclosing more data on the fluids it
uses to drill for gas in Pennsylvania to help ease
environmental concerns. [ID:nN14126820]
Other major shale producers include Chesapeake Energy Corp
(CHK.N) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N).
FACTBOX: Risks to shale gas production [ID:nN28199000]
(Additional reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Walter