"Controversial Oil Extraction Technique Recently Used on Six More Wells in the Sespe Oil Field,
Which Now Has the Highest Concentration of Fracking Reported on the Central California Coast"
Combined, the six fracking operations in 2013 consumed nearly 4.75 million gallons of water, according to documents submitted to the California Department of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) and the FracFocus website. The fracking operations reportedly injected the following chemicals into underground formations:
- ammonium salt
- sodium hydroxide
- ammonium chloride
- ethylene glycol
- monoethanolamine borate
- acetic acid
- acetic anhydride
- 2,2 Dibromo-3-nitriloproplonamide
- sodium persulfate
- hemicellulase enzyme
- guar gum
- organic phosphonate
- ammonium chloride
- amine salts
- polyquaternary amine salt
- bentonite, benzyl (hydrogenated tallow alkyl) dimethylammonium stearate complex
- bis-quaternary methacrylamide monomer
- sodium chloride
- quaternary amine
- surfactant mixture
- silica gel
- sodium sulfate
The fracking operations concluded just as the federal Bureau of Land Management closed its official comment period on a proposal to regulate fracking on federal lands nationwide. The BLM received more than one million comments from the public, asking the agency to strengthen its draft regulations. Los Padres ForestWatch joined a letter signed by 36 local and national environmental organizations calling for stricter oversight, full disclosure of all chemicals, advance public notice, and thorough environmental review for any future fracking operations.
The fracking operations also coincided with the enactment of California’s first-ever law regulating the practice. On September 20, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB4, which requires the state Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Regulation (DOGGR) to issue regulations governing hydraulic fracturing statewide, and to conduct a study of the possible environmental impacts of fracking. The regulations and study must be finalized by 2015, and only apply to drilling and fracking operations on state land, not national forests and other federal land.
“These state regulations are a good first step towards safeguarding our water supplies and ensuring that we fully understand the consequences of fracking,” said Kuyper. “However, we still have a long way to go – until DOGGR issues these regulations and completes the study, fracking could continue in the Los Padres National Forest without any public notice or environmental analysis.”
Additionally, even with these state regulations in place, nearly half of the wells in the Sespe Oil Field will be exempt – the statewide regulations don’t apply to wells drilled on federal lands. Nearly half of the wells in the Sespe Oil Field are on federal forest land.
The recently-fracked wells are all owned by Seneca Resources, an oil company based in Houston, Texas that operates most wells in the Sespe Oil Field. The fracking operations were conducted by Halliburton.
ForestWatch will continue to participate in statewide and federal regulatory efforts, and will demand full disclosure of fracking chemicals and adequate safeguards to protect water quality and the environment. “Until these safeguards are fully in place and implemented, fracking should not be approved in the Sespe Oil Field,” said Kuyper.