An ASTM International subcommittee will address the need for standards in hydraulic fracturing. The subcommittee will bring together stakeholders to collaborate on the development of standards that promote best practices in hydraulic fracturing operations.
Along with the natural gas boom largely in part because of hydraulic fracturing operations comes increasing concerns for safety in site infrastructure and well construction, as well as the potential downstream impact on water, land and air resources.
The subcommittee is planning on developing standards that will cover:
- Background site investigation and permitting;
- Well installation and borehole integrity testing;
- Engineering and drilling techniques;
- Management and disposal of drilling fluids;
- Groundwater monitoring and remediation;
- Reinjection of produced well fluids; and
- Permanent well abandonment and data reporting.
“As the oil and gas industry looks to tap into the vast energy resources in shale formations across the U.S., the surge in hydraulic fracturing activity is expected to continue for years to come,” says Kenneth R. Bell, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, corporate manager of geotechnical and hydraulic engineering services at Bechtel Corp. and vice chairman of ASTM subcomittee’s main committee. “New standards developed by D18.26 (the subcommittee) will help direct the work of the industry so that these operations can be performed to accepted best practices and oil and gas can be recovered in a safe and secure manner.”
The committee will draw its membership from all sides and points of view relative to the hydraulic fracturing issue, including representatives from the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, engineering firms, federal regulators, state and local governments, permitting bodies and academia.
“ASTM is the ideal forum for this effort, a true neutral ground where all interested parties can have their voice heard and shape the direction of future standards for hydraulic fracturing,” says Dr. John T. Germaine, Ph.D., of the department of civil and environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, vice chairman of the subcommittee’s main committee, and the leader of the task group that formed the subcommittee. “By participating on this subcommittee, stakeholders can freely air out issues and collaborate on standards that are fair and reasonable, provide guidance for all involved, and serve as the watchdog for the needs of the environment.”
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.