Fracking Fluids

Mostly Water and Sand

Our fracking fluids usually are comprised of approximately 99.5% water and sand and 0.5% additives.  Most of these additives can be found in everyday household products such as laundry detergents, cleaners, food and beauty products.  We use environmentally friendly chemicals when possible.  Even though additives represent such a small portion of the overall fracking fluid, they serve several important purposes:

  • They help to eliminate bacterial growth in the well (similar to the way that chlorine helps to eliminate bacterial growth in a pool or our drinking water), since bacteria can cause corrosion, which, unless treated by chemicals in the fracking fluid, could impact the safety and integrity of the well;
  • They prevent scale build-up in the well; and
  • They reduce friction to help manage well pressure

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and IOGCC have implemented a voluntary chemical disclosure website, www.FracFocus.org, where oil and gas exploration and production companies can disclose the additives used in the fracking process on a well-by-well basis starting with wells drilled in 2011. 

We fully support the public disclosure of fracking fluid additives, and we have provided a description of the fracking additives we use on www.FracFocus.org.  In addition, we submit information on these additives to the necessary regulatory agencies.  We obtain Material Safety Data Sheets for every chemical we use in the fracking fluid.

Type of Water Used in Fracking

We recognize that fresh water is a valuable resource, so we use non-potable water sources in our fracking operations wherever feasible.  We also build frack ponds where we dig and collect rainwater to use in our fracking operations.

Disposal of Fracking Fluids

Once the well has been fracked, most of the sand introduced while fracking remains underground and holds open the fissures in the rock formation so that the oil and gas can be retrieved.  Some of the water and additives that comprise the fracking fluid eventually flow back up through the well. 

In 2011, we began to use predominately a closed loop drilling system where the flowback fluids are temporarily stored in steel tanks, rather than lined pits.  In Texas, the steel tanks we use are open top for the first two to three days and then we use steel tanks that are covered and have pressure relief vents.  In all other areas, we use only covered tanks with pressure relief vents.