ASTM subcommittee to develop hydraulic fracturing standards

Posted on 28 May 2013

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor

ASTM International has formed a subcommittee to develop standards for hydraulic fracturing. Subcommittee D18.26, which held its first meeting in January, includes 230 volunteer members from operating companies, service companies, geotechnical and geo-environmental firms and regulators, said Robert Morgan, director of technical committee operations for ASTM. Member companies include BP, Chevron, Chesapeake Energy, Schlumberger and Halliburton.

The committee has identified several areas of focus:

• Site investigation;

• Site construction;

• Permitting;

• Drilling;

• Fracturing and stimulation;

• Drilling fluid characteristics;

• Waste management of completion fluid;

• Site monitoring and well abandonment; and

• Cementing and grouting.

The standards are strictly voluntary. Once they are developed, they will be ASTM standards that can be used in the marketplace and potentially cited in federal regulations, which currently reference some 2,500 standards.

“One of the reasons ASTM has been so successful is that it gets industry involved in the process and brings the regulatory community to the table to develop standards everyone can live with,” Mr Morgan said. “The process allows industry to be proactive rather than have a governmental entity determine what the standards should be. ASTM is an open and transparent organization, and anyone who has an interest in the process can get involved.”

The subcommittee, formed after an exploratory task force reached out to industry stakeholders, also works closely with related organizations to avoid duplicative efforts. One of the first endeavors of the task force was to review existing API documents related to hydraulic fracturing. “If another organization is meeting a marketplace need, ASTM typically does not get involved,” Mr Morgan noted. “We looked for voids in the API documents where ASTM standards could supplement the work that has already been done.

“Another objective in this effort is that ASTM does not want it to come across as an environmental watchdog activity but rather as a way to make the practice of hydraulic fracturing safe and efficient,” he continued. For example, one issue discussed at the initial meeting was proppant shape, which can make a significant difference in keeping fractures open for better flow of hydrocarbons.

The standards development process could potentially take more than a year, depending on the complexity of the topics being addressed. “The process depends on the urgency of the needs the members have identified,” Mr Morgan said. “The ASTM process has a proven history, and one of the reasons it has lasted so long is because of the professionals involved. This is a level playing field where everyone has an equal say.”

For more information on how to get involved in Subcommittee D18.26, please visit www.astm.org/COMMIT/D1826.htm.

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 02 September 2014

    FMC vocational technical training recognizes importance of non-technical skills

    The oilfield service business is a people business, and when you deal with human beings, there are no absolutes. In the world of vocational technical training, this means...

  • 28 August 2014

    DNV GL launches interactive Arctic risk map

    DNV GL has developed an interactive Arctic Risk Map to present the risks associated with offshore and maritime activities in the Arctic. The map aims to provide stakeholders...

  • 27 August 2014

    Video: Aviation safety program encourages employees to voluntarily report safety issues

    Since 2009, there have been no passenger fatalities on domestic airlines in the US, Ronny “Ronoo” Monsour, VP of Sales for Check-6, said. Mr Monsour also a pilot for...

  • 27 August 2014

    Vestigo Petroleum plans ‘manufacturing approach’ to marginal fields offshore Malaysia

    Vestigo Petroleum, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian NOC Petronas Carigali, is about to put a tender out for its first rig on a first drilling program offshore...

  • 27 August 2014

    Case study from mining: Image-driven safety campaign removes communication barriers

    In the world of process safety, people, equipment, the environment and reputation are some of industry’s greatest assets, Marlane Kayfes, Senior Technical Writer...

  • Read more news