The potential hazards and risks associated with well-stimulation in unconventional oil and gas development (hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing, and matrix acidizing) have been investigated and evaluated and federal and state regulations requiring chemical disclosure for well-stimulation have been implemented as part of an overall risk management strategy for unconventional oil and gas development. Similar evaluations for chemicals used in other routine oil and gas development activities, such as maintenance acidizing, gravel packing, and well drilling, have not been previously conducted, in part due to a lack of reliable information concerning on-field chemical-use. In this study, we compare chemical-use between routine activities and the more closely regulated well-stimulation activities using data collected by the South Coast Air Quality Monitoring District (SCAQMD), which mandates the reporting of both unconventional and routine on-field chemical-use for parts of Southern California. Analysis of this data shows that there is significant overlap in chemical-use between so-called unconventional activities and routine activities conducted for well maintenance, well-completion, or rework. A comparison within the SCAQMD shows a significant overlap between both types and amounts of chemicals used for well-stimulation treatments included under State mandatory-disclosure regulations and routine treatments that are not included under State regulations. A comparison between SCAQMD chemical-use for routine treatments and state-wide chemical-use for hydraulic fracturing also showed close similarity in chemical-use between activities covered under chemical disclosure requirements (e.g. hydraulic fracturing) and many other oil and gas field activities. The results of this study indicate regulations and risk assessments focused exclusively on chemicals used in well-stimulation activities may underestimate potential hazard or risk from overall oil field chemical-use.
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Stringfellow, W. T.,
Domen, J. K.,
Shonkoff, S. B.
Comparison of chemical-use between hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and routine oil and gas development.
PLoS ONE, 12(4), 1–16.