What's in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids?

While the recipe for the chemical additives is not the same for every frack job, the California Independent Petroleum Association says many of the same ingredients are used in most frack water.
When a producer stimulates a well through hydraulic fracturing or fracking they use a mixture of water (90 percent), sand (9.5 percent) and chemical additives (.5 percent) to break up the dense rock below the surface and allow the oil inside the rock to flow.

While the recipe for the chemical additives is not the same for every frack job, the California Independent Petroleum Association or CIPA, an association which represents the oil industry, says many of the same ingredients are used in most frack water.

This includes:

Acids - According to CIPA acids are used to help dissolve minerals and initiate a fracture or crack in rock. They say these are the same acids used as swimming pool cleaner.
Sodium Chloride - According to CIPA, salt is used to delay the breakdown of the gel in the fluid.
Polyacrylamide - CIPA says this is used to allow the frack fluid to move within the pipe.
Ethylane glycol - CIPA says this prevents deposits from collecting in the pipes. The association says this chemical is used in automotive anti-freeze and as a household cleaner.
Borate Salts - CIPA says this helps frack fluid remain slippery as the temperature rises deeper into the well bore. The association says borate salts are used in laundry detergents, hand soaps and cosmetics.
Sodium/Potassium Carbonate - These chemicals, according to CIPA, are used to help other chemicals in the frack fluids function.
Glutaraidehyde - This chemical, according to CIPA is used to elminiate bacteria in the frack fluid. CIPA says this chemical is often used to sterilize medical and dental equipment.
Guar Gum - CIPA says this substance is used to thicken the frack fluid so the sand does not separate. The association says this can be used as a thickener for cosmetics, baked goods, ice cream, and toothpaste.
Citric Acid - CIPA says this is used to prevent the precipitation of metal oxides. It’s also used as a food additive and is found naturally in lemon juice.
Isopropanol - CIPA says this chemical, like borate salts, is used to keep the frac fluid slippery so it slides down the well.

By January companies will be required to disclose the chemicals they use to the state regulator, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, but for now companies voluntarily disclose their fracking fluids' chemical make-up on Fracfocus.org.

KGET reporter Katey Rusch examined the fluids used a well named Tulare #310-8H, fracked in Monterey Shale in the North Shafter oil field.

According to the website, the fracking fluids included 85 percent water (902,622 gls.), 13 percent sand and the remaining 2 percent were chemical additives. This is what the website says the frack fluids include:

Alfa-Alumina - This is a proppant, meaning it helps keep sand in the frack fluid suspended.
Hematite - This is a proppant, meaning it helps keep sand in the frack fluid suspended.
Maghemite - This is a proppant, meaning it helps keep sand in the frack fluid suspended.
Glutaraldehyde - (as listed above)
Ammonium Chloride - This is a salt like Sodium Chloride used to stop clay in the hole from swelling.
Potassium Carbonate - (as listed above)
Methanol - This is a corrosion inhibitor.
Thiorear polymer -This is a corrosion inhibitor.
Tall Oil Acid - This is a casing corrosion inhibitor.
Ethoxylated Alcohols - This is a casing corrosion inhibitor.
Alkenes - This is a casing corrosion inhibitor.
Oxyakylated Amine Quat - This is a clay controller, meaning it stops clay in the soil from swelling.
Guar gum - (as listed above)
Erythorbic Acid - This helps stop iron in a casing from oxidizing.
Citric Acid - (as listed above)
Hydrochloric Acid - (as listed above)
2-Butoxyethanol -This, like borate salts, helps the frack fluid remain slippery.
Xylene -This is a surfactant, like borate salts, it helps the frack fluid remain slippery.
Isopropyl Alcohol -This is a surfactant, like borate salts, it helps the frac fluid remain slippery.
Naphthalene -This, like borate salts, helps the frack fluid remain slippery.
Glyoxal - This is a crosslinker, meaning it helps carry sand downhole in the frack fluid.
Sodium Teraborate - This is a crosslinker, meaning it helps carry sand downhole in the frack fluid.
Sodium Hydroxide - This is a crosslinker, meaning it helps carry sand downhole in the frack fluid.
D-Glucitol - This is a crosslinker, meaning it helps carry sand downhole in the frack fluid.
 
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