Baker Hughes to disclose fracking chemicals

JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer

Drilling services company Baker Hughes has implemented a policy of disclosing all of the chemicals used in its fracking operations.

NEW YORK (AP) — The drilling services company Baker Hughes on Wednesday implemented a policy of disclosing all of the chemicals used in its fracking operations.

Environmental groups and local communities have for years been pushing for full disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique also known as fracking.

In response, the oil and gas industry set up an online database that lists many of the chemicals, but held back crucial information on certain chemicals and the amounts used on the grounds that it would provide competitors with trade secrets.

Baker Hughes said that starting Wednesday it will not withhold any information on those grounds. It first announced the policy earlier this year.

"Introducing greater transparency about the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and protecting the ability to innovate are not conflicting goals," said Derek Mathieson, Baker Hughes chief strategy officer, in a statement.

The company says that for every fracturing job performed by the company it will disclose a list of all the chemical constituents of the products used and their maximum concentrations through the industry-maintained website fracfocus.org.

Mark Brownstein, chief counsel for the US energy and climate program at Environmental Defense Fund, which has been calling for greater disclosure, applauded the move.

"The only way the oil and gas industry can earn the public trust is by being transparent with the public in terms of the chemicals they use, the environmental impacts they have and the steps that they take to minimize those risks," Brownstein said.

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