FracFocus was created in 2011 with a single purpose in mind: to simplify the search for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations by location. This goal extended not just to providing a one-stop resource for all relevant information, but also to ensuring the information is clear, easy to understand, and not simply a download of industry terminology.
The original vision began in 2010 through a partnership between the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which were aware of and concerned about the time-consuming and inefficient processes in place for consumers who wanted to search for this information. In a joint effort, they began planning and seeking input from states, academia, and technology and industry experts to place chemical reporting data at the general public’s fingertips.
Today, what began as a voluntary reporting site with 37 participating companies now receives reports from more than 1,100 companies reporting chemicals for more than 138,000 hydraulic fracturing operations nationwide. Because of the system’s success from both operator and consumer perspectives, 25 states now either require or allow companies to disclose chemical data via FracFocus.
“We’re extremely proud of FracFocus and how it has revolutionized the standard for hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure,” said Mike Paque, GWPC executive director. “We’re excited about the future as we continue to grow and evolve, allowing us to improve the user and reporting company experiences, and to further improve public transparency.”
In 2015, FracFocus began releasing disclosure data to the public in machine-readable SQL format, which allows users to more easily search and aggregate data. Site upgrades continued into 2016, based on combined response and feedback from the reporting companies, consumers and researchers. In 2017 FracFocus began offering data in Comma Separated Value (CSV) format which can be imported into MS Excel®.
The release of FracFocus 3.0 in 2016 included the following improvements:
- Stronger validation processes to improve data integrity and accuracy
- A new format for reporting chemical data that protects proprietary information while still allowing the chemicals used to be disclosed
- Newly designed forms to improve the company and regulatory agency user experiences when checking and completing disclosures
As a public resource, FracFocus is always interested in your feedback and input about your search experience on the site. We welcome your comments.
- April 11, 2011 – FracFocus goes live. The site begins with 37 participating companies voluntarily submitting 444 hydraulic fracturing disclosures.
- June 2011 – FracFocus reaches 1,000 disclosures.
- July 2011 – Montana issues a rule allowing operators to meet state reporting requirements by submitting chemical information through FracFocus. Texas passes a law to the same effect, while Louisiana begins discussion.
- September 2011 – FracFocus begins using GIS interfaces for disclosure search.
- Jan. 1, 2012 – FracFocus goes international with FracFocus Canada.
- Summer 2012 – North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Pennsylvania begin requiring disclosure to FracFocus, bringing the total to seven states.
- June 2013 – FracFocus 2.0 is released, allowing users to more efficiently search for well site chemical information. A new and improved XML platform gives users the option to search and pull reports by date ranges, chemical names or CAS numbers.
- September 2013 – Eight more states now require chemical disclosure through FracFocus: South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.
- April 2015 – Another eight states now require chemical disclosures to FracFocus: California, Nevada, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Alaska.
- July 2015 – Due to public demand, FracFocus begins releasing disclosure data to the public in machine-readable (SQL) format, allowing FracFocus users and researchers to more easily search and aggregate data.
- October 2015 – The number of disclosures for hydraulic fracturing operations surpasses 100,000 – in all, FracFocus sees 106,132 disclosures from operations nationwide with 974 reporting companies.
- June 2016 – FracFocus 3.0 goes live, providing stronger validation processes to improve data integrity, which in turn makes data more valuable for researchers and the public; a new format for reporting company data entry, which should decrease the use of trade secrets in disclosures, thereby providing more public transparency; and newly designed forms to improve the company and regulatory agency user experiences when checking and completing disclosures.
“FracFocus is a victory for transparency and good governance, and an example of what is possible when the industry works with state regulators and environmental groups to solve urgent challenges in managing the local impacts of hydraulic fracturing. FracFocus remains one of the best national repositories of oil and gas data, and paves the way for a new era of open data in this field.”
– Adam Peltz, Environmental Defense Fund