US shale producers contend states should set regulations

18 April 2012 02:58  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (ICIS)--The US oil and gas industry maintains that regulations on hydraulic fracturing technology for shale production should be in the hands of the state, but threats of federal intervention continue, a company official said on Tuesday.

“Industry position has been, and will continue to remain, that it is the state that has the information to regulate drilling,” said James Tramuto, Southwestern Energy’s vice president of governmental and regulatory strategies, at the Gas Processors Association annual meeting in New Orleans.

There are 32 states currently producing natural gas, Tramuto said, adding that the industry needs to continue to work to make sure regulators and the industry are doing “a good job representing constituents”.

 In April 2011, started as an internet-based medium for all shale producers to “step up and file every time they complete a well” in order to disclose the chemical makeup of the fracturing fluids, he said.

Hydraulic fracturing uses chemicals to help stimulate hydrocarbon production.

Tramuto said the website has more than 14,000 wells registered and at least 207 companies contributing information.

Many state regulations require companies to use FracFocus for disclosing chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing.

Tramuto said the federal government is already regulating production through the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other federal environmental protection laws.

This week, the White House announced it will be setting up a new inter-agency working group to promote the safe development of domestic natural gas.

The committee will be chaired by Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and it will focus on development of unconventional gas, which uses hydraulic fracturing.

The working group will comprise more than a dozen agencies, including the departments of Interior and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

By: Sheena Martin
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