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California to Require Disclosure 10 Days Before Fracking

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- California regulators will require oil and natural gas companies to disclose plans to use hydraulic fracturing 10 days in advance, under draft regulations released today.

If the regulations are adopted, the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources will post well locations three days before fracturing begins, according to a statement posted on the agency’s website today. The state doesn’t currently require companies to reveal fracking plans.

The so-called “discussion draft” proposal is meant to begin talks over regulations that may be adopted at a later time by Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers. The formal process of establishing the regulations will begin in early 2013, according to the statement.

Oil and gas companies “will participate in the process as new regulations are formulated,” Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry trade group, said today in an e-mail.

The rules also would require companies to post information about chemicals used to fracture wells on FracFocus, a national website that the energy industry helped create in 2011 to allow for voluntary disclosure. As in other states, companies would be allowed to avoid naming some chemical compounds considered to be trade secrets. In some cases, they may also seek exceptions where fracturing is expected to occur for exploratory wells.

The regulations also require additional well testing and monitoring before, during and after fracturing operations.

California is the nation’s third-largest oil-producing state, with average output of 524,000 barrels a day of crude in September, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bradley Olson in Houston at bradleyolson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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