U.S. may revise some shale gas rules

Nov. 1, 2011 at 7:46 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Interior Department said it will unveil new proposals about the components in hydraulic fracturing fluid to allay public concerns about shale gas.

Energy companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to draw natural gas out of shale formations. The chemicals used in fracking fluid have raised concerns of environmentalists because of possible water contamination.

David Hayes, deputy secretary at the Interior Department, said a new proposal would require a disclosure of fracking chemicals while protecting corporate trade secrets.

"Disclosure would improve public confidence," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

Hayes was testifying before a subcommittee tasked with advising the White House about shale gas extraction.

Energy companies involved in fracking, and some U.S. states with rich shale deposits, say the process doesn't pose a threat to the environment if done correctly.

The United States has some of the richest deposits of shale gas, mostly in territory east of the Mississippi River. In the Marcellus gas play, Platts notes 75 percent of waste water used in fracking is recycled and reused for shale gas extraction, while the rest is slated for disposal wells. Other operations send wastewater to underground wells.

Hayes is considering revision to so-called on shore drilling Rule 9, in place and unchanged since 1982.

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