The director of the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (KCCOGC) has proposed rules that would require oil and natural gas companies to disclose non-trade secret chemicals that they use in hydraulic fracturing activities. Pointing out that the physical act of hydraulic fracturing has been regulated for years under Kansas’ wellbore construction and waste handling and disposal rules, the director stated that chemical disclosure was needed due to the significant number of wells using the fracking procedure near larger population areas. Under the rules, the disclosures would be made directly to the KCCOGC or through the “chemical disclosure registry” (FracFocus.org) with a verification to the KCCOGC.
The operator would be required to provide a list of each fracking treatment as part of the required completion report. The list would include, as “a percentage by mass of the total amount of hydraulic fracturing fluid,” (1) the base fluid used, (2) each proppant, and (3) “each chemical constituent at its maximum concentration in the hydraulic fracturing fluid and its CAS number.” Disclosures would not be required for a chemical constituent that is a trade secret, an incidental result of a chemical reaction or process, or a “component of a naturally occurring material and becomes part of the hydraulic fracturing fluid during the hydraulic fracturing treatment.” For trade secrets, the operator must provide the name of the chemical family and the name, address, and telephone number of the party claiming the trade secret. Trade secrets may need to be disclosed to the KCCOGC in its investigation of any spills or contaminants entering fresh or usable water and to any health professional who determines that the “information is reasonably necessary for emergency treatment,” provided he/she signs a statement of need and agrees to confidentiality, verbally and in writing.
This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright’s Energy Practice Group.