Fracking details will be reported for SD wells
PIERRE -- Oil and gas operators who use the process of hydraulic fracturing in South Dakota in the future will be required to report the data to a national website under a state regulation that received final clearance Tuesday from the Legislature's rules review committee.
FracFocus is a national registry of hydraulically fractured wells. The site (www.fracfocus.org) lists well site information such as state and county, operator, well name, specific location, chemicals used, start and completion dates, and other data.
Trade secret information is exempt from the new requirement.
No one spoke for or against the provisions Tuesday. The state Board of Minerals and Environment adopted the reporting rule and other reclamation rules after a Jan. 17 public hearing.
Bob Townsend, administrator for the state mining and minerals office, said Halliburton officials sought the exemption. "Ninety-five percent of the fluid they use is water or sand-laced water," he said.
Sen. Angie Buhl, D-Sioux Falls, questioned whether the public will get the information needed on the chemicals used. Townsend said a Halliburton attorney at the January hearing said the company's policy is to disclose the exact information if requested by regulators.
Buhl's concern was echoed by Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell. "I'm still a little bit concerned they can put in additives that we may not want put down in there," Vehle said.
Townsend said South Dakota doesn't have any fracking -- hydraulic fracturing -- currently under way. He said it isn't required to reach most of the oil in South Dakota. "As far as the chemicals used, they're a wide variety," he said.
Townsend compared them to what are commonly used in plumbing applications.
"As long as we can request them -- even though we're not fracking right now, we could be," Vehle said.
The six legislators on the review panel allowed the regulations to proceed on a 6-0 vote.
Fracking has been used at times in South Dakota. Those wells took one or two truckloads of fluid. In North Dakota the fracked wells are much deeper and need hundreds of truckloads per well.
During the Jan. 17 hearing Harding County Auditor Kathy Glines recommended that baseline and follow-up sampling of water be conducted from aquifers near fracking wells.
Townsend said his office's new policy is to take those samples at the request of landowners and provide the results to them.