A new website purporting to show the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations went live on Monday, and the proponents are hoping critics of the industry will make use of it.
"Hydraulic fracturing in Western Colorado has resulted in ongoing concern and reasonable questions from local communities," said David Ludlam, executive director of the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association in Grand Junction.
"This tool will go a long way to help ease those concerns and clear up some misunderstandings about hydraulic fracturing technology," he said.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," involves the injection of massive amounts of water, sand and chemicals into well bores, in order to break up deeply buried rock formations and permit gas and oil to flow freely to the surface.
The website, located at www.FracFocus.org on the Internet, offers information that is submitted by gas companies voluntarily, according to a written statement on the new service.
The website is underwritten by the Ground Water Protection Council, a national nonprofit group, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, an industry advocacy organization.
"This voluntary 'disclosure' site allows authorized members of the oil and natural gas industry to upload chemical information for hydraulic fracturing jobs conducted after January 20, 2011," according to the website.
As of April 11, the only participant in Garfield County was Williams Petroleum, which listed 10 hydraulic fracturing procedures conducted between Feb. 2 and March 12.
"I have yet to speak with a local operator who doesn't plan to participate, but the registry is a new tool," explained Ludlam. "And assimilation of chemical data will be a process, not an event."
At one of Williams' sites, featuring a well that reaches more than 8,000 feet and that was injected with more than 1.3 million gallons of fracking fluids, the company lists nine trade-name products supplied by Halliburton.
These products, according to the company, contain a total of 21 ingredients of varying strengths or concentrations.