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ASTM Subcommittee on Hydraulic Fracturing Holds First Meeting


Attendance was strong at the first meeting of the newly-formed ASTM Subcommittee D18.26 on Hydraulic Fracturing. More than 100 individuals were present in Jacksonville, Fla., for a half-day standards meeting on Jan. 29. Attendees represented a diverse cross-section of this rapidly growing industry.

Chaired by John T. Germaine, Ph.D., senior research associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the goal of D18.26 is to chart a safe and efficient course for hydraulic fracturing.

“I believe D18.26 will have a major impact on hydraulic fracturing activities,” says Germaine. “The potential list of standards is very long and it is now a matter of the interest and energy of the volunteer members to determine the long-term impact.” Germaine lists the following as a partial list of areas in which ASTM hydraulic fracturing standards could be developed:

• Establishing background contamination levels;
• Characterizing materials injected into the wellbore to create a fracture or support the flow path;
• Evaluating the chemistry of waste materials;
• Sealing the wellbore for abandonment;
• Quantifying grout behavior; and
• Monitoring air and groundwater during operations.

The primary purposes of the initial D18.26 meeting were to set agendas for 1) coordination of existing ASTM activities related to hydraulic fracturing; and 2) development of new hydraulic fracturing standards. In order to receive input from a broad-based variety of stakeholders, the following D18.26 members made presentations to provide their organization’s perspectives (a list of presentations can be found at In addition to Germaine and Robert Morgan, director, ASTM International, the following individuals made presentations:

• Shail Ghaey, Upstream Standards, “Guidance and Practices Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing Operations-American Petroleum Institute”
• Kenneth Bell, Bechtel, “ASCE-Hydraulic Fracturing”
• Anita Brach, Dam Safety Production Center-Army Corps of Engineers, “Potential Impacts of Hydrofracturing on Dam and Levee Safety”
• John Getty, Montana Tech, “Overview of Proppants and Existing Standards and Practices”
• Jack Richard, Thermo Fisher Scientific, “ASTM International Committee D19 on Water”
• Ian Treviranus, HORIBA Instruments Inc., “Importance of Size and Shape of Proppants Quality”
• Khalid Farrag, Gas Technology Institute, “Overview of the Hydraulic Fracking Process and Related Activities”
• Daniel Price and Mark Travers, ENVIRON International Corporation, “Zero Discharge Water Management for Hydrofracturing Activities”
• Ron Steinvurzel, Steinvurzel Law Group, “Municipalities and Natural Gas Extraction…What the Frack?”
• Bruce Hicks, state of North Dakota, “North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources-North Dakota Practices”

During the meeting, discussion focused on determining categories within which consensus standards could be developed that will guide best practices within the oil and gas industry while also addressing environmental concerns regarding water, land and air resources. To view meeting minutes, go to Task groups have been formed in the following areas:

• Site Investigations;
• Permitting;
• Site Infrastructure and Construction;
• Drilling/Fracking/Stimulation;
• Drilling and Completion Fluid Characterization;
• Drilling and Completion Fluid Waste Management;
• Production Activities;
• Site Monitoring;
• Well Abandonment;
• Reporting;
• Cementing/Grouting; and
• Terminology

Each task group will refine their scope statements; identify existing standards in their area; identify possible liaisons with other ASTM committees, as well as outside organizations; and begin to write first drafts for new standards. Progress in these areas will be reported at the next D18.26 meeting.

“Now that specific subsections have been created, the members can focus their discussions on needed standards and begin to engage the process,” says Morgan.

Subcommittee D18.26 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock. The scope of D18 includes “the promotion of knowledge; stimulation of research; the development of specifications and methods for sampling and testing; and the development of terminology, definitions and practices relating to the physical and chemical properties and behavior of soil, rock and the fluids contained therein.” 

All interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of D18.26, which will meet next during the June D18 meetings, June 9-12, in Indianapolis, Ind.

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

For more news in this sector, visit or follow us on Twitter @ASTMEnvironment.

ASTM Committee D18 Next Meeting: June 9-12, 2013, June Committee Week, Indianapolis, Ind.
Technical Contact: John T. Germaine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Andover, Mass., Phone: 617-253-7113; 
ASTM Staff Contact: Robert Morgan, Phone: 610-832-9732; 
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;   

Release #9326

February 28, 2013

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