Range Resources will submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) additional information about additives used in the process of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells in Pennsylvania operated by Range.
Range's disclosure initiative, which will begin immediately, will provide regulators, landowners and citizens of the Commonwealth an accounting of the highly diluted additives used at each well site, along with their classifications, volumes, dilution factors, and specific and common purposes. The information will be submitted to the DEP as part of Range's well completion reports and on the company's website.
"With more than 25 years of responsible operation in the Commonwealth, Range is concerned what Pennsylvanians think about our industry. We understand that there is the perception among some that the additives used in hydraulic fracturing present a risk to the public, even though the Marcellus Shale formation is found more than a mile below the water table. We are committed to achieving the proper balance of pursuing the enormous opportunity that the Marcellus Shale provides and observing a higher standard of care for the environment and the communities where we live and work," said John Pinkerton, Chairman and CEO of Range.
"Our voluntary initiative will increase transparency and allow people to better understand that the Marcellus Shale is a valuable resource that can be pursued responsibly and for the benefit of all of the citizens of Pennsylvania."
"Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation must be done right, and efforts to protect our environment and address the concerns of our residents have to be done immediately," said DEP Secretary John Hanger. "Last month, DEP took the lead on this initiative by becoming the first state environmental agency in the country to post a comprehensive list of additives used in surface and fracturing operations – online, in one place, in full view of the public. Today's announcement that Range intends to go even further on this issue is welcome news, and represents a model that other operators in the Marcellus must follow without further delay."
Range is currently using four additives in the hydraulic fracturing of its natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale. These highly diluted and common additives collectively make up approximately fourteen one-hundredths of one-percent (0.14%) of the hydraulic fracturing fluid -- with the remaining 99.86-percent comprised of water and sand. Approximately four one-hundredths of one-percent (0.04%) of the fluid and sand mixture is considered hazardous in a concentrated form, according to federal regulatory classifications, and like most common household chemical substances in diluted form, pose no harm. In partnership with its service companies, Range has reduced the number of additives and is continuing to undertake research to further refine materials used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
"Range has been transparent in its listing of additives used at the well site, both through voluntary means and as part of the federal disclosure process enforced by OSHA, DOT and the DEP," said Ray Walker, Range's senior vice president for the Marcellus Shale Division. "But we also understand the historic opportunities the Marcellus makes possible, and that's why we're going even further with our efforts to voluntarily disclose additives on a well-by-well basis. As our website will make clear, all of the additives we use are highly diluted, carefully managed and in many cases commonly used in our everyday lives.
"We are hopeful that our voluntary disclosure will help dispel the misconceptions that have persisted and allow Range and others to deliver on the potential of this extraordinary resource base."
In 2004, Range was the first natural gas company to drill and complete a Marcellus Shale well in Pennsylvania using modern technology. While it's still early, geologists believe the Marcellus Shale formation could hold as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – enough to fuel Pennsylvania's economy for centuries.
A recent report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts the Marcellus could yield as much as 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2030; a May 2010 report from the Pennsylvania State University projects that number could exceed 13.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2020, while creating nearly 200,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania.
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