Texas gas drillers agree with NY to report risks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two Texas companies that drill for natural gas have signed agreements with New York’s attorney general to release information about the financial risks to investors from hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method banned in the state while health officials study its effects.

Agreements with EOG Resources Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. require they publicly disclose risks arising from chemical handling, wastewater disposal, effects on drinking water aquifers, regulation and litigation.

Both companies said Friday they have no current operations in New York and already disclose much of the information. So-called fracking frees natural gas from dense shale rock a mile underground by injecting high volumes of water mixed with chemicals and sand.

Opponents fear drilling will contaminate water supplies with either leaked methane or chemicals.

“By joining with my office to commit to greater public disclosure of the environmental and financial risks associated with their actions, these companies are setting a strong example for the rest of their industry,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

The agreements followed 2011 subpoenas from the attorney general’s office to various drilling companies about their disclosure practices. The subpoenas were issued under New York’s Martin Act, which is used to enforce against securities fraud and gives the office authority to access businesses’ financial records.

According to state officials, both companies have done hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania, in the Marcellus Shale formation that extends under New York’s Southern Tier. They also drill in other states.

John Christiansen, spokesman for Anadarko headquartered in suburban Houston, said they were pleased to reach an agreement that ends the New York inquiry. He said the agreement provides for some additional disclosure and putting it in one place on its website. EOG says on its website that it’s testing different types of hydraulic fracturing fluids, that one goal is to minimize the chemicals required, and that all are highly diluted, resulting in fluids that are typically more than 99 percent sand and water.

EOG spokeswoman K Leonard said the agreement affirms the Houston-based company’s commitment to transparency and ends its inquiry. She said the company committed to continue providing information on hydraulic fracturing as it has for years through the company’s website and SEC filings.

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