Texas' New Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Law

Texas' new hydraulic fracturing disclosure law – recently signed by Gov. Rick Perry – demonstrates that states and oil and gas producers can work together to increase public confidence in the industry as it develops abundant, cleaner-burning natural gas resources, said G. Steven Farris, chairman and chief executive officer of Apache Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company .

Perry signed the disclosure law at a ceremony in Denton, Texas, July 15, 2011. He also signed a bill encouraging development of natural gas-fueled transportation infrastructure in the "Texas Triangle" linking Houston, San Antonio, Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and another authorizing air-quality monitoring in the Barnett Shale area of North Texas.

Farris is vice chairman of America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), a group of 30 of the largest gas explorers and developers in North America. ANGA supported the frac fluid disclosure and Texas Triangle bills during the recently concluded session of the Texas Legislature.

The new disclosure law is the first state legislation requiring disclosure of the composition of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing – a process using water, sand and small amounts of friction reducers and other chemicals to crack low-permeability formations and permit oil and gas to flow to the surface. Operators will be required to report the makeup of fluids to the Texas Railroad Commission through fracfocus.org, a website sponsored by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.  Apache and other producers supported the design and implementation of the website and have been submitting reports voluntarily for many months.

"Hydraulic fracturing has been used by the industry to unlock resources for more than 50 years. When done safely, it enables the nation to enjoy the economic and environmental benefits that come from greater use of the vast natural gas resources in shale formations found across Texas and the nation," Farris said. "We want to thank Gov. Perry for his leadership on this issue and Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland and Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound for all of their hard work in shepherding this legislation through the process in Austin.

"The disclosure legislation should serve as a model for other states that want to maintain public confidence as the industry develops these resources and leads the way to a cleaner and healthy environment for all of us," Farris said.

"Apache also wants to thank Sen. Tommy Williams of The Woodlands and Rep. Mark Strama of Austin for their landmark legislation promoting natural gas as a transportation fuel," Farris said. "The use of more Texas natural gas, especially as a vehicle fuel and to generate electricity, holds great promise for the state, not only in increased revenue from additional severance and property taxes, but also from the creation of thousands of new, good-paying jobs and cleaner air for all Texans to breathe. The Texas Triangle bill will jump start a natural-gas vehicle market, and we will all benefit from this legislation."