The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has approved regulations requiring disclosures related to hydraulic fracturing, pre-production activities and work-overs.
The new rule (1148.2) requires operators to give public notice prior to doing hydraulic fracturing and disclose the chemicals that will be used in the hydraulic fracturing fluid.
Operators also must notify SCAQMD in advance of all drilling activity, well rework operations and well completions. (Click here to see the text of the regulations.)
District staff will test for emissions on specific oilfield processes over the next two years and, based on that data, they may develop mitigation rules if substantial emissions are found.
CIPA and WSPA jointly submitted substantial comments on the regulation. CIPA, which proposed an alternative, testified at the board meeting that the rule was unnecessary because the district already has the authority to test for emission sources.
CIPA also participated in the workshops and work group meetings and hosted a seminar and field tour to help educate staff on the different processes within an oilfield.
The rulemaking was initiated at the request of Board Chair Dr. William A. Burke, initially focusing on disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. SCAQMD staff expanded the scope to include other drilling and operational processes. With approximately a dozen hydraulic fracturing completions performed in the Los Angeles Basin in 2012, no significant hydraulic fracturing emissions were reported.
At the request of the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), operators now disclose hydraulic fracturing completions on FracFocus.org. According to the reports on FracFocus.org, more than 600 wells were hydraulically fractured in California in 2011, almost all of them outside the LA Basin. There are currently more than 4,000 active wells at 275 facilities in the Los Angeles Basin.