The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and State oil and gas agencies have developed the EIMS (Environmental Information Management System) and CERA (Cost-Effective Regulatory Approach) strategic plan to prioritize long-term development and implementation. The strategic planning process identified electronic commerce and coalbed natural gas (CBNG) as high priorities. The group also is seeking strategic partners in industry and government to develop a common data exchange process.
Technical assistance to Alaska continues to improve that State's program management capabilities. New initiatives in Alaska include the development of an electronic permit tracking system. This system allows managers to expedite the permitting process. Nationwide, the RBDMS (Risk-Based Data Management System) is largely completed, with 20 states and one Indian Nation now using this nationally accepted data management system. RBDMS will be installing the remaining oil and gas states upon request.
States and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Minerals Management Service (MMS) are beginning the development of an the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) schema, which will help facilitate electronic reporting and permitting on Federal lands.
This project was selected in response to DOE's solicitation Oil and Gas Broad Based Announcement, DE-PS26-01BC41048, focus area Effective Environmental Protection.
Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC)
Oklahoma City, OK
In 2002, GWPRF initiated a joint project with BLM and DOE to assess the feasibility of water-management and beneficial-use alternatives specific to CBNG produced water. The project is being performed with an integrated-team approach with participants from States, Federal agencies, universities, industry, and researchers. The Coal Bed Methane Beneficial Use handbook has been completed and is available in hard copy and electronic format. Based on the Coal Bed Methane survey, GWPC is developing a work plan for a Coal Bed Methane Module for RBDMS. This module will track CBNG wells in addition to produced-water quality. Produced-water quality data will be made available on agency websites.
The EIMS/RBDMS and CERA programs continue to be successful. All oil and gas State regulatory programs participate in these efforts. Significant accomplishments include streamlined regulatory approaches, enhanced environmental protection, and oil and gas data made available via the Internet. Oil and gas companies worldwide now have access to data on State websites. This reduces the cost of exploration and enables companies to develop properties in areas that would have been cost-prohibitive for exploration. The GWPC is working with the BLM and MMS to develop an XML schema to facilitate electronic permitting and reporting. This is a significant effort and, in years to come, will increase access to Federal lands by reducing regulatory barriers.
Making available the wealth of information contained in these compatible databases creates an unparalleled opportunity for industry to improve exploration activities and increase production while improving environmental compliance. Attributes of RBDMS include its continued usefulness in assessing and reducing risk to drinking water, use of nonproprietary software, capability to address legacy databases, and adaptability to variations in State oil and gas regulatory and production accounting methods.
The Ground Water Protection Research Foundation's (GWPRF) CERA is an integral part of the RBDMS system. These effective and more-efficient policies and environmental program improvements developed through CERA can be implemented by all States. The principal project objectives of this projects are to continue implementing RBDMS Phase II, make these data available to industry, streamline permitting on State and Federal lands, reduce the cost of environmental compliance, and develop user-friendly online reporting techniques.
Among the project milestones:
The RBDMS program is largely completed. Remaining tasks include routine maintenance and the installation of the program upon request for the remaining oil and gas States.
The new initiatives are CBNG and e-commerce. The e-commerce program will provide industry and BLM/MMS access to the millions of data points housed in the RBDMS system. E-commerce will streamline regulatory approaches and allow small operators to produce energy from areas that have become subeconomic for the major producers. The GWPC is working with states to develop a CBNG program, which will both manage the data and develop a public education program on the benefits of produced water.
The CERA program benefits all oil and gas States by reducing the cost of regulatory compliance, increasing environmental protection, and providing industry and regulatory agencies a discussion forum.
$751,000 (21% of total)
Other Government Organizations Involved
EPA, MMS, BLM
The GWPC EIMS/RBDMS 2003 Annual Report.
Business Case for Collaborative Development of Shared Processes and Procedures by Participating US Federal and State Regulatory Agencies to Support Well Permits & Activity Reports.
A CBNG beneficial-use handbook (Coalbed Methane Primer: New Source of Natural Gas-Environmental Implications) has been developed and is available at