Drillers Accused of Using Diesel Fuel in Hydraulic Fracturing
1st February 2011
Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes' BJ Services are among 12 oil and gas companies using diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing, potentially violating the law, three U.S. House Democrats said.
The providers injected 32.2 million gallons of unauthorized diesel fuel, or fluids containing the fuel, to extract gas from wells in 19 states from 2005 to 2009, Reps. Henry Waxman, Edward Markey and Diana DeGette wrote Monday Jan.31, 2011 in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. BJ Services led with 11.5 million gallons followed by Halliburton at 7.2 million, they said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee began its investigation of fracturing in February 2010. The panel concluded that 12 of 14 companies questioned used diesel fuel or fluids containing diesel in 19 states.
Texas, where North Texas' Barnett Shale is the nation's No. 1 natural gas source and the Eagle Ford Shale in South and Central Texas is a growing resource, accounted for half of the total. Companies also used at least 1 million gallons of diesel-containing fluids in Oklahoma, Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana and Colorado, the lawmakers said.
Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, stated on Monday, "I don't think [diesel] is used at all in the Barnett Shale" in fracturing fluids.
Ireland said he knows "for sure" that gas producers who are members of the energy education council do not use diesel in fracturing fluids in Barnett operations. Those producers account for more than 90 percent of Barnett production, he said.
Companies using hydraulic fracturing -- a technique that shoots water, sand and chemicals into shale to extract natural gas -- aren't required to get permits unless they use fluids containing diesel, which the EPA said is a threat to drinking water. No companies sought such permits, the lawmakers said.