By Kevin A. Fritz and Craig B. Simonsen

The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)’s FracFocus 2.0 database houses information collected from Federal and State regulatory agencies required as part of their regulatory requirements to disclose the composition and quantities of fracturing fluids that are injected into unconventional oil and gas wells.

In 2013, Secretary of Energy Moniz charged SEAB to review FracFocus 2.0.  What resulted is the FracFocus Task Force Report Final Draft, which provides findings and recommendations to the SEAB Task Force on FracFocus. As an additional component of President Obama’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” the Draft Task Force Report builds on a 2011 SEAB Subcommittee report on the environmental impacts of unconventional gas production.

Notable in the Draft Report is its claim that a: “large fraction of reporting wells claim at least one trade secret exemption. The Task Force favors full disclosure of all known constituents added to fracturing fluid with few, if any exceptions.” The Report suggests:

A “systems approach” that reports the chemicals added separately from the additive names and product names that contain them, generally should provide adequate protection of trade secrets. The Task Force further calls for state and federal regulators to adopt standards for making a trade secret claim and establish an accompanying compliance process and a challenge mechanism.

Comments on the Draft Report are due by March 25, 2014, and are to be submitted by email to the SEAB.