ASTM to address industry standards for frackingAugust 28, 2012
ASTM International is a well established group that develops standards and practices for various industries. ASTM standards are entirely voluntary and have no legal authority, but they often serve the basis for government regulations. Earlier this month, ASTM announced the establishment of a subcommittee that will begin the process of drawing up standards for safe and efficient hydraulic fracturing activities. The committee will consider not only natural gas fracking, but also procedures to be used for tight oil extraction and even proposed geothermal fracking. This is an important and necessary step in moving energy extraction forward. The development of a set of clear standards will give everyone – industry representatives, environmental activists, local citizens, government regulators, and politicians – a basis from which to assess individual projects that come up for approval.
From the ASTM press release:
To provide best practices for hydraulic fracturing, diverse stakeholders are coming together at ASTM to create sound technical standards for this dynamic field. Subcommittee D18.26 is planning on developing standards that will cover:
• Background site investigation and permitting;
• Well installation and borehole integrity testing;
• Engineering and drilling techniques;
• Management and disposal of drilling fluids;
• Groundwater monitoring and remediation;
• Reinjection of produced well fluids; and
• Permanent well abandonment and data reporting.
“As the oil and gas industry looks to tap into the vast energy resources in shale formations across the U.S., the surge in hydraulic fracturing activity is expected to continue for years to come,” says Kenneth R. Bell, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, corporate manager of geotechnical and hydraulic engineering services at Bechtel Corp. and vice chairman of ASTM Committee D18. “New standards developed by D18.26 will help direct the work of the industry so that these operations can be performed to accepted best practices and oil and gas can be recovered in a safe and secure manner.”