Regulating “fracking?” SEC sends ambiguous messages « Mining Blog

Regulating “fracking?” SEC sends ambiguous messages

19. September 2011,

So-called “fracking” is a highly controversial method of accessing coal seam gas, which requires the use of a large range of chemicals (some toxic), blasted with sand and water into underground deposits.
Numerous complaints have been made by environmentalists about the danger posed to water resources by the process.

Among mining companies, BHP Billiton has already acquired a major “fracking” field in the USA.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it wanted to ensure drilling companies aren’t “misleading investors about their natural gas reserves”. At the same time the SEC admitted that it wasn’t “cracking down” on the practice itself.

The SEC issued subpoenas to ExCo Resources Inc and Quicksilver Resources Inc last month, in a probe into whether companies are overstating the productivity of their natural-gas wells.

Predictably, some politicians, including Republican Bill Posey from Florida, criticised the SEC for “straying from its traditional area of securities abuse into regulating environmental issues”.

This prompted a response from SEC Chairman, Mary Schapiro, that: “We are not regulating fracking in any way”

Nonetheless, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the SEC is also asking oil and gas companies to provide it with detailed information on the chemicals used in the fracking process.

Source: PlanetArk, Reuters, 16 September 2011

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