Entering its fourth year, FracFocus, a website for disclosing chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, continues to improve its performance and versatility.
The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), joint venture partners in the FracFocus initiative, announced upcoming improvements to FracFocus’ system functionality, according to a Feb. 26 statement.
The new features for 2015 include:
- Reducing the number of human errors in disclosures.
- Expanding the public’s ability to search records.
- Providing public extraction of data in a “machine readable” format.
- Updating educational information on chemical use, oil and gas production and potential environmental impacts.
The installation of new self-checking features in the system will help companies detect and correct possible errors before disclosures are submitted. This feature will detect errors verifying that Chemical Abstract Service Numbers (CASRNs) meet the proper format.
An emphasis on the use of a reporting format called the “systems approach” will improve chemical reporting transparency for the public and may result in a reduction in the number of trade secret claims. This improvement will allow companies to file a more complete list of chemicals used in a hydraulic fracturing job. This approach was supported by many of the operating companies.
The public’s ability to search records will be enhanced through the use of pulldown menus and the addition of search fields such as the disclosure submission date.
Improved capability to capture data through the extraction of “machine readable” data sets will provide wider data access for the public. At present FracFocus records are available only in PDF format.
These improvements will continue the site’s goal in providing highly accurate information about chemicals used in individual hydraulic fracturing operations. An additional dozen small improvements will allow participating companies and the public to access data more efficiently.
FracFocus is the state oil and gas agencies reporting option of choice with 20 states currently housing disclosures on the website. Plus, a licensed version of the system is operating in five Canadian provinces. With nearly 100,000 accessible disclosures and more than 1 million visitors to the site from 134 countries, FracFocus will continue to expand its capabilities and enhance functionality for public use. For more information, visit fracfocus.org.