Office of Conservation

State Office of Conservation requiring reporting of water source in hydraulic fracturing operations

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The oil and gas industry has quickly begun to respond to the Louisiana Office of Conservation’s recently implemented changes in reporting requirements for water use for drilling operations requiring hydraulic fracturing.

The primary current use of that drilling technique is in the Haynesville Shale natural gas formation in northwest Louisiana, and the new requirement is part of the continuing effort to most effectively manage ground water resources.

The new reporting requirement calls for operators conducting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracing,” to report the source of water and volume used in the process. The “fracing” process involves using water to fracture a shale formation and allow for natural gas to be extracted.

“While we already have procedures in place to track the number and use of water wells in the state, increasing the amount of data available to the Office of Conservation’s Ground Water Resources Program increases the ability to appropriately manage resources,” said state Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle, who also chairs the state Ground Water Resources Commission.

In reporting the use of water for hydraulic fracturing, the operator must identify either the water well number or water body name from which the water is drawn. The policy went into effect on Sept. 15 and was made enforceable on Oct. 1.

State Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh said that the development of the Haynesville Shale natural gas formation has been intense, and the new reporting requirement is part of the Office of Conservation’s efforts to ensure the balance between preserving the state’s natural resources while allowing for responsible development.

“We want to make sure we have the best information possible on how our resources are being used to help us make the best policy decisions in regulating industry and protecting the public now and in the future,” Welsh said. “This change went into effect in mid-September and the industry has begun making the adjustment.”

The Ground Water Resources Program, within the Office of Conservation, has started work on collecting the information received through the new reporting requirement and is preparing methods of analysis to make the best use of the data.

More information on the new reporting requirement can be found at

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