Energy policy — oil and gas: The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation is looking into diesel in hydraulic fracturing fluid in Colorado

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From The Durango Herald (Karen Frantz):

The commission will be reviewing its database and the reports submitted by well operators, and cross-checking them with samples from water wells, said commission director David Neslin. However, he said that even if diesel was used in hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, a number of regulatory requirements are in place to ensure that fracking fluids do not come into contact with groundwater. Those regulations include requiring wells to be cased with steel pipes and the casing to be surrounded by cement to create a hydraulic seal. It also means that well pressure is monitored during hydraulic fracturing. “Even if it turns out that diesel fuel was used for this purpose in Colorado, we believe that our rules would have ensured that groundwater was protected,” Neslin said. “Whenever issues of this sort are raised, we look into them because the protection of groundwater is an important part of our mission,” he said.

The House committee investigation released Monday found that none of the gas and oil companies tracked whether they conducted hydraulic fracturing near underground drinking water sources.

However, the three largest companies, Halliburton, BJ Services and Schlumberger, told the committee they stopped using diesel fuel when breaking up coal-bed formations, which often are closer to water sources. Three smaller companies said they did use a limited amount of diesel-containing fluids in coal-bed methane wells, but they did not say how close those wells were to drinking water sources.

More coverage from David O. Williams writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:

Tisha Schuller, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), said the probe conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was correct in assuming the use of diesel is covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). But she said the EPA never set up any rules for regulating the use of diesel in the overall process of hydraulic fracturing, which is exempted from regulation under SDWA.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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