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Discussion > Fracking information please

Fracking information required please.

My apologies in advance for asking for this - I am sure I could find plenty of information searching many other websites, but am a bit short on time. So, please could readers let me have any links to reputable information on fracking, the so-called dangerous chemicals etc so that I have some information to counter what will be an anti-fracking head of steam that is building locally by the frack-free crowd.

Sep 24, 2015 at 11:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Somewhere online there is an list of chemicals, used in the early days of US fracking when it was pretty much unregulated, there are 600 plus chemicals and about 100 plus were carcinogens. However It has now changed dramatically and in the UK the info is freely available.
When Cuadrilla started fracking in Lancashire the solution used was water, sand and a chemical used in UK water purification plants. That info will still be on the Cuadrilla website. Each site can need a different solution and it depends on the geology of the area however you should have no problem getting the company to tell you even if it is not already on their website.

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Registered CommenterDung

This is from Cuadrilla's website:


During hydraulic fracturing, fracturing fluid is released at high pressure into the underground rock formation to create millimetre-sized cracks through which natural gas trapped in the shale can flow.

Before fracturing takes place, the Environment Agency must approve the proposed composition of Cuadrilla’s fracturing fluid. The fracturing fluid Cuadrilla used at the Preese Hall exploration well site and plans to use at future exploration well sites is composed almost entirely of fresh water and sand. We also have approval to use the following additives:

● Polyacrylamide (friction reducer )

● Sodium salt (for tracing fracturing fluid)

● Hydrochloric acid (diluted with water)

● Glutaraldehyde biocide (used to cleanse water and remove bacteria)

So far, as additives to fracturing fluid, Cuadrilla has only used polyacrylamide friction reducer along with a miniscule amount of salt, which acts as a tracer. We have not needed to use biocide as the water supplied by United Utilities to our Lancashire exploration well sites has already been treated to remove bacteria, nor have we used diluted hydrochloric acid in fracturing fluid. Additives proposed, in the quantities proposed, have resulted in the fracturing fluid being classified as non-hazardous by the Environment Agency.

About polyacrylamide

In our hydraulic fracture at Preese Hall, polyacrylamide was used to reduce friction between water and the pipe wall, which allows us to reduce the pressure required during fracturing. At our Preese Hall well, this friction reducing additive made up 0.04% of the fracturing fluid – translating to 3.7 m3.

Polyacrylamide is a non-hazardous, non-toxic substance. For example, polyacrylamide is used as a flocculant (to remove suspended solids) in drinking and wastewater plants, and for soil remediation.

Disclosure process

Cuadrilla will disclose on its website details of any additives it is approved to use and any additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluid used in fracturing shale. The Environment Agency also discloses on its website details of any additives approved for use.

Click here to view the overall composition of our fracturing fluid used in 2011.

Returned water

Fracturing fluid together with water that may be stored underground in the shale rock return up the bore with the gas and this is known as “returned water” or “flowback Fluid”. Typically about 40% of the fracturing fluid used during the fracturing process flows back to the surface in returned water within the first few weeks of well flow.

Much of the fracturing fluid returns to the surface over the producing lifetime of the well.

Returned water is tested as it comes to surface both by the Environment Agency and Cuadrilla, and is treated and disposed of in EA approved waste water treatment plants according to Environment Agency rules.

Returned waters contain very low levels of “naturally occurring radioactive materials” (NORM) – such as those found around the UK at surface outcrops of granite and shale rock.

We apply for a Radioactive Substances Regulation (RSR) permit as per Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 for any fracturing or well-testing programme. The Environment Agency has classified as non-hazardous the returned water composition seen in Lancashire Bowland shale wells

To find out more about returned water and regulation, please visit the Environment Agency Website

Fracking fluid is 99.95% water and sand.

Sep 25, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Grumpy, Frac Focus seems like a fairly sensible general US site.
When looking for information about specific chemicals, the Sigma-Aldrich Company website is one of the best available resources if you know what chemical compound you are looking for.

Propriety compositions may be harder to find information about.
I may be able to help with requests. I used to work in the industry for a company similar to Aldrich, and as well as working with thousands of different compounds, it was later one of my jobs to supply safety data to customers and estimate chemical hazards when information was lacking.

The biggest chemical hazard likely to be found on a fracking site, will be in the Portaloo (or "Honey Bucket", as Americans prefer to call them.)

Sep 25, 2015 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I guess it would have been sensible to ask where Grumpy is located hehe

Sep 25, 2015 at 7:11 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, I found the properties of formaldehyde, and not a few other chemicals, to be the same in the US as in the UK.
But the Budweiser, like American electricity, seemed about half-strength.

Sep 25, 2015 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Prof Peter Styles at Keele University has a fracking presentation he was touring for the IET (sponsored at least in part by DECC!!) - which is evidenced , fair and balanced. There's a video - The Layman's Guide to Fracking (incomplete / poor audio) and another to GMB union here

He gave a public lecture at Bath Uni (Grumpy is a local?) last year and the local frackwits turned out in force. - and proved to be an arrogant, sneery, rude, ignorant bunch.

The fresh intake of anti-frackers in my area are even more ignorant than the existing crew - I went and had a look on Facebook (had to have a shower after that)

Sep 25, 2015 at 8:34 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Mr hart

For some reason formaldehyde instantly brings to mind Francis Dolarhyde, they both give me the creeps as does Budweiser ^.^ However I never stuck my fingers into a US electrical socket so I can not comment on their electricity.
If Cuadrilla added Budweiser to the fracking fluid then its no wonder there was a quake showing Earth's disapproval.
Love the word frackwits!

Sep 25, 2015 at 8:39 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thanks chaps, that's a great start and I'm very grateful. I'll follow up all this information.

Yes, Tomo, pretty local to you. As with Dung, love the word 'frackwits', but they're starting their frackwitted protests frightening the locals so a balance is required and I want to understand the other side of the argument.


Sep 25, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

I think this tells you everything you need to know.The EPA isn't exactly a pro-fracking organisation.Also this. I don't believe either organisation set out to give fracking a clean bill of health, but in the end they pretty much had to. On the aquifer issue most of our water comes from reservoirs (around 65%) acquifers are typically a few hundred feet underground while fracking takes place between 5000 to 8000 feet underground, so the only way the drinking water can be contaminated is if the pipes through the acquifers leak, or by spillage of recovered water. Typically when the pipe goes through an acquirer the water is contained within an inner pipe which has another pipe around it the space between being filled with cement and a further pipe around the second pipe with the space between them being filled with cement, so the chances of a leak are slim to zero. The only other way is for a water spillage, which is what's happened in the US on occasion, however they don't/didn't have the strict regulations about recovered water treatment we have in the UK. UK Government Regulations for the handling of fracking water.

Also bear in mind that the chemicals in the water are dilute already at around 1% of the volume of water, if a spill does occur into an acquifer the actual chemical content will be massively diluted - I don't have any figures for that.

Finally, keep at the front of your mind that actually "fracking" a well i.e. injecting the water, takes between 1 and 5 hours and takes about 5 million gallons of water. To put this in context the estimate daily leakage of water from the UK water companies is 740 million gallons of water a day. Most of the water is left in the ground and the extracted water is either taken to a water treatment plant, or buried in deep holes.

All figures are illustrative as wells will vary and may take more, or less, time and water.

Sep 26, 2015 at 8:18 AM | Registered Commentergeronimo


you might want to take a look at The Wiltshire Times.

It's now clear to me that they have embedded activists on the staff who are manipulating coverage - mainly by closing comments on "scary" and exaggerated articles covering fracking and related issues. I have emailed the editor requesting clarification about the issue and got some rather lame excuses.....

This being the latest WT effort . Press Association "fracking = scary" / Frack Off campaign releases stories now routinely have closed comments and they are also publishing barely literate drivel "tiped up" by Frack Free Wiltshire under local reporter bylines (i.e. it has editorial endorsement) . The WT claims made for attendance at recent anti-fracking meetings are also exaggerated - according to the anti-fracker's own social media blatherings.....

It's the same bilge time and time again - but the drip, drip, drip is having some effect - on me at least!

I'd add that contentious / outrageous claims published on the WT web presence have been known to vanish - I now make a small habit of dropping the worst examples (like the one above.) into the Wayback machine

Sep 26, 2015 at 8:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Thanks, geronimo, most helpful.

tomo - I try not to read the Wiltshire Times - it's a typical local paper with nothing much to report and is therefore happy to take any press release from any idiot and re-write it as their own. Seen it time and time again. Don't let that drip, drip work on you.

Sep 26, 2015 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy



I'd only wipe windows with the WT ... (in fact their related free sheet The Advertiser is excellent for this purpose)

Point is though - it's the local "journal of record" and ABC'd at 20,000 paid copies - add in the sister titles with near identical content and you're quickly over 100K.

I'm not expecting much from Newsquest titles but blocking comments on climate, fracking, enviro-mental propaganda and "renewables" is in my view just unacceptable. It does not happen identically across the Gannet Media empire (I checked...) so I have to assume that activists are active in the regional production process - and I for one am not going to give the smug nasty little sh1ts a free ride.

It's one thing to enlighten with information - but what we have here is a very clear attempt to whip up hysteria - and that's not usually susceptible to rational, informed debate.

Sep 26, 2015 at 8:43 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, local businesses pay for adverts in papers, to improve their businesses. Local newspapers need advertising from local businesses to survive.

Will local businesses survive without affordable energy? Will a local paper survive without the support of local businesses?

I am just a country bumpkin, from a rural area, but frackwits don't understand economics, even when they have run out of everyone else's money. So it might be appropriare to encourage disinvestment from the Wiltshire Times, for the benefit of the community. The Guardian think disinvestment is the way forward. Your local Chambers of Commerce might have an opinion, if asked.

Sep 26, 2015 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Grumpy, post above was sort of aimed at you!

I do like fracktwits. In a power cut, will it be coldtitz?

Sep 26, 2015 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


you are - I think - on the button with that .... disinvestment works both ways :-)

What actually irks is the sly way it's being done and the mealy mouthed explanations proffered - I have been scrupulously polite but when lies are printed *repeatedly* - without a right to a direct reply - that's not good enough - by a country mile :-)

A wider debate about energy would be interesting since those frackwits are very keen to claim that they are the only authority on the matter - and that anybody who has any involvement with predominant present forms of energy is tainted and cannot be believed because they are corrupted by fossil fuels.

Back at Peter Styles lecture - the activists were notable for their peremptory and loud interactions with the speaker - they didn't like what he told them - and Prof. Styles is now on the FrackOff list of bogey men....

Sep 26, 2015 at 11:49 PM | Registered Commentertomo


Dad's Army, Corporal Jones to Capt Mainwaring "They don't like it up 'em Sir!"

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Some revelations about anti-fracker funding (apart from Qatar , Venezuela and Russia)


So when you call them oligarch funded sock puppets / useful idjits there's some ammo.....

Sep 28, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Registered Commentertomo

GasHoax the (short) movie....

Oct 1, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I'm a bit late here and can't open it to check the link but "Frackland blogspot" is a good solid site
written by a geologist with experience in fracking.

There are a couple of useful photos such as the drilling rig behind a shopping mall in downtown LA and
a gas well head after it's been drilled and re-landscaped. Check out the Library/resources and images of the
day tabs.

Oct 26, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Actually I can check links...

Oct 26, 2015 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Never too late!
Thanks, Nial.

Oct 26, 2015 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy