Oil and Gas Policy: How Chemical Management Software Can Help Companies Meet New Standards

chemical management
Recent federal regulations update decades-old oil drilling policy. Chemical management software can help companies with the new disclosure rules.
Image Source: Flickr CC user Lock the Gate Alliance

Despite its first use in 1968, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the process more commonly known as fracking, didn’t become widespread until decades later. Today, approximately 90% of U.S. land-based wells are fracked. The technique’s adoption directly led to the current oil and gas boom, boosting U.S. production to levels not seen since the 1980s. It has transformed the United States into a competitor alongside Saudi Arabia and Russia as a top global supplier of oil. On the domestic front, states credit it for improving economies and creating jobs.

Even with the benefits, fracking has many detractors. Because the process involves spraying a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formation, environmentalists remain worried about groundwater contamination. To address these concerns, the Obama administration recently passed new regulations requiring chemical disclosure from drilling companies and updating provisions for wastewater disposal. The federal policy updates well-drilling regulations that are more than 30 years old and have not kept pace with current technology.

The new guidelines aren’t unexpected. For the past few years, fracking has been regulated on the state level. While opponents of the new legislation complain about redundancy between existing state laws and the federal ones, following the new chemical disclosure rules need not be onerous. Proper chemical management can make compliance simple and efficient.

Tracking Chemicals Used During Fracking Operations

The new guidelines require that companies disclose what chemicals are used during the fracking process within 30 days of an operation. Because the technique uses a variety of chemicals, tracking by hand and recording the information in traditional spreadsheets can be time-consuming, requiring manpower some companies may not have.

Chemical management software makes use of barcode tracking. By using this feature, companies can track chemicals from the time they’re received to when they’re disposed. It also negates complications presented when drill operators add new chemicals to fracking mixtures on the fly. The inability to identify those last-minute additions can cause headaches for researchers trying to study potential effects on the environment and public health. Now with the use of a simple barcode scanner, tracking chemical usage can remain accurate and up-to-date.

Storage of Chemicals On-Site

Proper chemical storage is paramount under any circumstance, but the new federal rules will allow inspectors to impose changes at fracking sites to ensure chemical safety. Rather than waiting for those changes to come down, why not follow correct safety guidelines from the beginning?

With chemical management software, safety data sheets are linked to inventory and easily accessed. Workers and supervisors can use the information contained on the safety data sheets to make sure the chemicals they add to their fracking mixtures are stored properly and safely the moment they come on site. Doing so from the beginning eliminates any disruptive changes that may pop up down the line.

Proper Disposal of Wastewater

The new legislation also addresses the biggest public concern regarding hydraulic fracturing: wastewater disposal. The threat of groundwater contamination raises constant worry about environmental harm and dangers posed to public health.

But in addition to chemical storage information, safety data sheets also describe proper disposal. Using these guidelines, workers can make sure chemical waste is handled correctly. Other methods may seem more expedient, but since federal guidelines will now regulate the process, it’s best to follow proper protocols now to make any necessary transitions painless. And while it’s always best to prevent accidents, these safety data sheets can also tell us how to mitigate the resulting damage in the case of a spill.

Chemical Management Software Provides the Support Oil & Gas Firms Need

While challenges to the new fracking regulations are certainly imminent, it seems likely that federal oversight is here to stay. With increasing pressure on oil companies to remain transparent and disclose the chemicals used in their operations, the role of chemical management increases in importance.

Are you interested in learning how chemical management software can make compliance with government regulation easy and painless? Visit our website today to learn more about BIOVIA CISPro.

4 thoughts on “Oil and Gas Policy: How Chemical Management Software Can Help Companies Meet New Standards

  1. Safety and adherence to government regulations is of utmost importance, ELNs are a wonderful tool in the process and makes the job tons easier.

  2. With the risks involved with fracking, it is critical that there be some kind of oversight that requires careful and thorough chemical information and management. There are serious health risks involved, enough I feel to get rid of the process altogether, but if safer processes can be used and managed to ensure their safety, then maybe fracking can be useful instead of harmful.

  3. Edward – I’ve seen lots of concern about the new regulations and how difficult it’ll be for oil firms to meet the proposed deadlines. I think, though, that if they adopt digital tools like chemical management software, they’ll find it makes their lives so much easier.

  4. Anne, thanks for your comment. Fracking is certainly controversial, but I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Better to put regulations and guidelines in place to ensure maximum safety for everyone.

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