Wanna know what’s in that fracking fluid? Tough

Wanna know what’s in that fracking fluid? Tough by Philip Bump, December 3, 2012, Grist
As of last year, Texas has a law that requires fracking companies to reveal the chemicals used in their fracking fluids. Unless that fracking fluid is considered a “trade secret” by the fracking company, which, surprise surprise, companies have claimed 19,000 times in the first eight months of this year. From Bloomberg: A subsidiary of Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) pumped a mixture of chemicals identified only as “EXP- F0173-11” into a half-dozen oil wells in rural Karnes County, Texas, in July. Few people outside Nabors, the largest onshore drilling contractor by revenue, know exactly what’s in that blend. This much is clear: One ingredient, an unidentified solvent, can cause damage to the kidney and liver, according to safety information about the product that Michigan state regulators have on file. A year-old Texas law that requires drillers to disclose chemicals they pump underground during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” was powerless to compel transparency for EXP- F0173-11. The solvent and several other ingredients in the product are considered a trade secret by Superior Well Services, the Nabors subsidiary. While the ability of fracking companies to hide their ingredients is not a new problem, the Texas law demonstrates its extent. … Internationally, The Wall Street Journal reports, fracking isn’t catching on, due to a combination of shale locations and availability of technology. Exxon itself killed a project in Poland after deciding that drilling wasn’t worth it. That is good news for the rest of the world — but bad news for the United States, which becomes both a laboratory experiment and a deeply profitable business venture. After all, there’s a massive windfall trapped in that shale. And it’s far cheaper to seek forgiveness via an eventual class-action suit than it is to seek permission by providing full information.

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