Today, the Department of Interior (DOI) released its draft rule which would require public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands. The rule, created by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), would “(1) provide disclosure to the public of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on public land and Indian land, (2) strengthen regulations related to well-bore integrity, and (3) address issues related to flowback water.” To coincide with the proposed rule the BLM also released an economic analysis.

If adopted, the proposed rule would require well operators to disclose the following information about the stimulation fluid (defined to include proppants) used to hydraulic fracture a well:

  • additive trade name  
  • additive purpose
  • Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number 
  • percent mass of each ingredient

Well operators must provide this information to BLM once the fracturing process is completed. The information will be posted on a public website, likely FracFocus.org. This is similar to Colorado’s disclosure rule, adopted last year.

As stated in the proposed rule, "proposed section 3162.3-3(c)(5)(ii) would require the operator to submit to the BLM a description of the range of the surface treating pressures anticipated for the stimulation. This information is needed by the BLM to verify that the maximum wellbore design burst pressure will not be exceeded at any stage of the well stimulation operation.” If adopted, the proposed rule would require a mechanical integrity test of the well before operations, as well as a monitoring procedure throughout the well stimulation process.

Operators of the well would be required to store flowback fluid in storage tanks or lined pits. The operator would have the choice on the storage option based on cost. This method is consistent with current industry practice.

The proposed rule will be open to public comment for 60 days upon being published in the Federal Register.