Hydraulic fracturing has been used in the oil and gas industry for more than 50 years and in Australia for several decades.

when drilling wells, grout or cement is pumped between the well casing (a steel tube) and the hole back to the surface. This forms a barrier between the coal seams and any nearby aquifers.

Hydraulic fracturing involves mostly water and sand that is injected into wells at high pressure to crack the coal seams so gas can flow more freely. The sand holds open the cracks. The process is designed to only affect the target coal seam. Like farmers who use chemicals on crops, QGC uses chemicals with extreme care.

The small proportion of chemical additives in hydraulic fracturing fluid are needed to reduce friction, remove bacteria, dissolve some minerals and enhance the fluid’s ability to transport sand. They consist mainly of commonly used compounds like:

  • Surfactants (in soap or toothpaste)
  • Guar gum (in ice cream)
  • Sodium hypochlorite (in swimming pools)
  • Hydrochloric acid (also in swimming pools)
  • Acetic acid (basis of vinegar)

All chemicals are handled according to strict procedures by trained personnel and are used in concentrations so low as to cause no adverse environmental impact. The chemical product safety data sheets (SDS) are supplied in Table 1 below. Table 2 provides stimulation chemical risk assessments, prepared by an independent and qualified consultancy, that:

  • identify the hazards associated with proposed stimulation chemicals;
  • consider potential exposure pathways and the risk of potential impacts; and,
  • determine the required management measures.
Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing
Service Company Name or Handling Name (links to SDS) Main chemical components Common uses Main CAS#
Function: Biocide - - -
BE-09 Tributyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride Biocide used industrial cleaning, oil field waters, papermaking 81741-28-8
BE-6 Bronopol Eliminates bacteria in water 52-51-7
Magnacide 575, M298L Tetrakis (hydroxymethyl) phosphonium sulfate Eliminates bacteria in water for farming uses 55566-30-8
M275, BPA68915 3:1 CIT/MIT biocide, Magnesium Nitrate Eliminates bacteria in water 55965-84-9
Sodium Hypochlorite, BE-7, M091 Sodium hypochlorite Household bleach, disinfectants 7681-52-9
M300A Glutaraldehyde Industrial water treatment, disinfectant 111-30-8
Clay control - - -
KCL, M117 Potassium chloride Fertilisers 7447-40-7
L071, ClayCare, ClayTreat-2C, Choline chloride Choline chloride Agricultural feed additive 67-48-1
Corrosion inhibitor - - -
B499, Gelatine Gelatine Marshmallows, canned hams, desserts and dairy products, pharmaceuticals 9000-70-8
L058 Sodium erythorbate Food additive used predominantly in meats, poultry, and soft drinks 6381-77-7
U042 Tetrasodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate Food perservative, shampoo products, dentistry, cosmetics  64-02-8, 1310-73-2, 5064-31-3
Crosslinker - - -
XLW-10A Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, di-sodium tetraborate Detergents, soaps 1330-43-4, 107-21-1, 1310-73-2
J480 Aliphatic acid salt Fish bait additive, food preservatives N/A .
J610 Potassium hydroxide Manicure treatments, hair removal, soft soaps 1310-58-3
J604 Ethane-1,2-diol, Sodium tetraborate Corrosion protection, antifreeze 107-21-1, 1330-43-4
J580 - Food thickening agent N/A
J594 Carbohydrate polymer derivative None. Considered non hazardous. -
J596J450  2,2',2"-nitrilotriethanol Laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, general cleaners, shaving cream. 102-71-6, 1330-43-4, 7699-43-6
Service Company Name or Handling Name (links to SDS) Main chemical components Common uses Main CAS#
Function: Gel breaker - - -
GBW-30 Carbohydrates, hemicellulase enzyme
Food additives, coffee processing
J218, J479, GBW-5 Diammonium peroxidisulphate
Hair bleach, household cleaners, etching copper, printed circuit boards 7727-54-0
J134 Hemicellulase enzyme Food additives, coffee processing 9012-54-8
J318 2,2`,2"-nitrilotriethanol liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, general cleaners, hand cleaners, polishes, metalworking fluids, paints, shaving cream and printing inks 102-71-6
J481J490 Sodium bromate
Hair pigments, clothes dyeing 7789-38-0
Gel stabiliser - - -
J589 Propan-2-ol Keyboard, LCD screen, whiteboard and eyeglasses cleaner 67-63-0

Aliphatic polyol

N/A. N/A.
Friction Reducer - - -
FRW-16 1-Propanesulfonic acid, 2-methyl-2-[(1-oxo-2-propen-1-yl)amino], sodium salt (1:1) homopolymer
Water treatment, Thickener, Personal care products 35641-59-9
J353L Sodium thiosulphate
Preservative, stain remover, bleach and chlorine remover 7772-98-7
J568 Butyl Diglycol
Printing ink, surface cleaners, foam fire extinguishers 112-34-5
J599 Tetraethylenepentamine
Adhesives, agriculture, veterinary and detergents 112-57-2, 4067-16-7, 112-24-3
Other - - -
Nitrogen Nitrogen Refrigeration, supercooling, inert gas 7727-37-9
Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide

Dry ice
Sodium Chloride, Rock Salt, D044 Sodium chloride Table salt 7647-14-5
Fluorobenzoic acids Fluorobenzoic acids Groundwater tracers 385-00-2,
445-29-4, 1583-58-0
Oxygen Scavenger - - -
Oxygon Organic acid salt Removal of dissolved oxygen in fluids, meat processing
J528 Organic polymer
Biodegradable plastics (eg. Biodegradeable plastic bags, sheets, cups) 9051-89-2
J554 Aliphatic synthetic polymer
Carpenters glue
pH buffer - - -
M003, Soda Ash Sodium Carbonate Neutralise acids, water softening 497-19-8
Sodium Hydroxide, U028 Sodium Hydroxide Manufacturing of paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps, detergents, drain cleaner
BF-3 Sodium Bicarbonate
Baking soda
BF-7L Potassium carbonate
Additive in soaps, wines, dyes, glass
Acetic Acid, BF10L, L401 Acetic acid
Vinegar 64-19-7
HCL Hydrochloric Acid
Swimming pool pH control 7647-01-0
FE-300 Citric Acid
Naturally occurring in citrus fruits, flavouring, cosmetics
Scale inhibitor - - -
L065 Calcium Chloride, 1,2-Ethanediol
Brine, desiccant 10043-52-4, 107-21-1
Surfactant - - -
F112 Polyethylene glycol monohexyl ether Cleaning fluids, paints, coatings, silk screening inks 31726-34-8
Foam Stabiliser - - -
B271 beta-Alanine, N-coco alkyl derivs., sodium salts
Carwash foams 68608-68-4, 111-76-2, 67-63-0
Proppant - - -
Sand quartz Construction 14808-60-7
Carboprop Corundum, Mullite Ceramics 1302-93-8
NRTCarboprop - - -
Stimulation Risk Assessment Reports
Type Title
Main text Stimluation Chemical Risk Assmt (Golder 2014)
Addendum Urea sulphates polymer
Addendum Glutaraldehyde
Addendum Butenedioic acid polymer
Addendum Fluorobenzoic acid
Addendum Xanthan gum, sorbitol, ethane-diol, borate
Addendum Acetates, amines, tetrafluoroethylene
Addendum Boronatrocalcite, fumarate, diutan
Addendum  Propenoic acid, calcium chloride, oxydiethanol

Note: The above tables are periodically updated with new chemical products and also to remove some that are obsolete. Chemical products are retained on the QGC website for at least a year following their use in hydraulic fracturing. For information about historical chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing please contact us.

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