For the first time, researchers have assessed the chemicals used in routine oil and gas procedures such as reworking and maintaining wells. The study reveals that some potentially hazardous chemicals used in unconventional well-simulation are also used in unregulated, everyday activities at oil wells.
Researchers led by William T. Stringfellow of the University of the Pacific explained that the use of chemicals for well-simulation activities (such as hydraulic fracturing) is regulated by state and federal laws in the U.S. However, there are no laws to control the use of chemicals for routine activities in oil and gas development such as drilling.
The researchers base their conclusion on an analysis of data from California’s South Coast Air Monitoring District (SCAQMD). The study revealed that some of the same toxic chemicals are used for unconventional and routine oil and gas activities.
“Similarities were observed in the numbers of chemicals used, the masses in which they were applied, the frequency of use, and their toxicological profiles,” the researchers wrote in the paper published in the PLOS One journal.