Fracking rules coming ‘in weeks,’ says Interior chief Jewell

Fracking rules coming ‘in weeks,’ says Interior chief Jewell by Zack Colman, April 30, 2013, The Hill 
Draft federal rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be released in a matter of “weeks, not months,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday. The draft rules have undergone “sufficient change,” Jewell said during a media call. They’ll go through a public comment period once revealed. Interior decided in January to rewrite the rules that would govern fracking on federal lands. … The draft rules are expected to establish new requirements for maintaining well integrity and managing so-called flowback water. They will also force drillers to disclose chemicals they use during the fracking process. The oil and gas industry contends fracking is safe, noting that states have regulated the practice for decades. The industry is pushing back against the rules, which it says would be duplicative and would fail to account for geological differences between states. Jewell, for her part, has said a “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulating fracking won’t work.

[Refer also to:

Watson, T.L. and Bachu, S. 2009. Evaluation of the Potential for Gas and CO2 Leakage Along Wellbores. SPE Drill & Compl 24 (1): 115-126. SPE-106817-PA.

The Alberta energy regulator “records well leakage at the surface as surface-casing-vent flow (SCVF) through wellbore annuli and gas migration (GM) outside the casing, as reported by industry” and maintains information on “casing failures” but that details are “not publicly available.” The paper reports that “SCVF is commonly encountered in the oil and gas industry….high buildup pressures may potentially force gas into underground water aquifers” and that soil GM occurs when deep or shallow gas migrates up outside the wellbore “through poorly cemented surface casing.” The paper concludes that factors affecting wellbore leakage “can be generalized and applied to other basins and/or jurisdictions.” [Emphasis added]

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