Fracking chemicals – EU developments by Nick Boley

As the possibility of large-scale commercial hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Europe edges closer, a  generic exposure scenario (GES) is being drawn up by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the European Oilfield Specialty Chemicals Association (Eosca) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP). This has been discussed by the EU’s Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (Caracal) recently.

There is currently no requirement under REACH for dossiers for substances used in fracking operations to specifically include references to their use in fracking.

The industry group is also preparing a background document which will describe, in simple terms, the main steps in fracking, and will include current available data on potential emissions and exposure from each step. This will include a generic list of fracking additives, stating their type or function.

It will be important, going forward, to ensure that these additives, and all potentially harmful substances, used in fracking operations, can be measured accurately and down to environmentally sensitive low concentrations, in order that the consequences of this technology can be monitored and the environment and public safety appropriately protected as a result.



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