I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Hydraulic fracturing has helped to expand natural gas production in the United States,unlocking large natural gas supplies in shale and other unconventional formations across thecountry. As a result of hydraulic fracturing and advances in horizontal drilling technology,natural gas production in 2010 reached the highest level in decades. According to new estimatesby the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States possesses natural gasresources sufficient to supply the United States for approximately 110 years.As the use of hydraulic fracturing has grown, so have concerns about its environmentaland public health impacts. One concern is that hydraulic fracturing fluids used to fracture rock formations contain numerous chemicals that could harm human health and the environment,especially if they enter drinking water supplies. The opposition of many oil and gas companiesto public disclosure of the chemicals they use has compounded this concern.Last Congress, the Committee on Energy and Commerce launched an investigation toexamine the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. As part of that inquiry, theCommittee asked the 14 leading oil and gas service companies to disclose the types and volumesof the hydraulic fracturing products they used in their fluids between 2005 and 2009 and thechemical contents of those products. This report summarizes the information provided to theCommittee.Between 2005 and 2009, the 14 oil and gas service companies used more than 2,500hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 chemicals and other components. Overall, thesecompanies used 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products – not including water addedat the well site – between 2005 and 2009.Some of the components used in the hydraulic fracturing products were common andgenerally harmless, such as salt and citric acid. Some were unexpected, such as instant coffeeand walnut hulls. And some were extremely toxic, such as benzene and lead. Appendix A listseach of the 750 chemicals and other components used in hydraulic fracturing products between2005 and 2009.The most widely used chemical in hydraulic fracturing during this time period, asmeasured by the number of compounds containing the chemical, was methanol. Methanol,which was used in 342 hydraulic fracturing products, is a hazardous air pollutant and is on thecandidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Some of the othermost widely used chemicals were isopropyl alcohol (used in 274 products), 2-butoxyethanol(used in 126 products), and ethylene glycol (used in 119 products).Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturingproducts containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2)regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed ashazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of morethan 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing.