Individual companies within their particular industries often create proprietary components of a product or service as a way to differentiate themselves from competitors. These trade secrets, as they’re referred to, are protected by state laws.
Within the oil and natural gas industry, companies that create proprietary formulas, methods, techniques or processes for hydraulic fracturing are protected by these trade-secret laws, and therefore are not required to reveal the chemicals used. In addition, many states have enacted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which provides a legal framework for companies operating in multiple states. When FracFocus was developed in 2011, this limited our ability to provide a truly comprehensive database of information.
In response, FracFocus developed a reporting method that allows companies to provide the required information while protecting their proprietary components. This method, called the "systems approach", decouples ingredients from their respective trade names, making it very difficult for an end user to connect the two.
The ability to protect the proprietary portions of this information – while still providing a more complete list of chemical ingredients used – decreases the use of trade secrets in disclosures, thereby improving public transparency.
The term “trade secret” as understood in FracFocus also includes the terms “TS,” “confidential,” “CBI” and “proprietary.” FracFocus functions solely as a means to report chemicals as trade secrets on disclosure reports. We are unable to verify or certify that a formula or method listed as a trade secret is entitled to such protection. This policy is based on two factors: