The Northwest Territories government says the public has a right to know what chemicals are being put into the ground by petroleum companies.

ConocoPhillips must disclose all chemicals used while fracking two horizontal wells in Tulita under the license awarded by the Sahtu Land and Water Board in June.

But that excludes chemicals considered to be "trade secrets", which can be kept hidden. Critics say companies should have to disclose all chemicals being pumped into the ground.

"[You] really have an odd situation here where you've got an entire industry that has been given special consideration when it comes to secretly contaminating our freshwater supply," says Peter Redvers, the co-chair of the Council of Canadians for Northwest Territories.

The territory's minister of environment and natural resources, Michael Miltenberger, agrees it’s a concern.

"We as northerners have a right to know what the best practices are, that we will know clearly what we are allowing industry to put in the ground to assist with the shale gas production. It’s an [eminently] reasonable request," Miltenberger said.

He said a government discussion paper to guide regulators on fracking in the territories has been in the works for months.

He hopes those guidelines are ready for public review this fall.