LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission said Thursday that a rule requiring gas-well drillers to reveal the chemicals they use to break up underground rock formations has been a success since it took effect in January. But he says he doesn't see a need to go further with restrictions on the hydraulic fracturing process known as "fracking."
Larry Bengal told a legislative panel that 354 chemicals used in fracking have been registered with the state since the new rule took effect. He said 62 of those chemicals were not completely disclosed because of an exemption for trade secrets.
In those instances, the companies have to reveal only the chemical family names but not the specific chemical, Bengal said.
Bengal said he believed the rule has been a success because it's giving the public more information on chemicals used in the natural gas drilling process. Concerns have been raised about possible groundwater contamination from the fracking fluids, but Bengal said the chemicals registered have not been linked to any water well contamination in the state.
In the fracking process, millions of gallons of water, along with chemical additives and sand, are injected at high pressure down the well bore to break up the shale and release the gas.
Bengal said he doesn't see a need to pursue more restrictions or a ban on fracking at this point.
"There's no indication that you have contamination caused by general fracking of wells," Bengal told reporters after appearing before the House and Senate committees on agriculture, forestry and economic development. "Unless you have potential failure of your casing or failure of your cement in a particular well bore, there's no reason to ban fracking on a regional basis as has been done in other parts of the country."