|Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS) and Cost Effective Regulatory Approaches (CERA) Related to Hydraulic Fracturing and Geologic Sequestration of CO2
||Last Reviewed 1/2/2015
The goal of this project is to enhance the Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS) by adding new components relevant to environmental topics associated with hydraulic fracturing (HF), and by management of myriad data regarding oil and natural gas well histories, brine disposal, production, enhanced recovery, reporting, stripper wells, and other operations to enhance the protection of ground water resources. The FracFocus website will be maintained to ensure transparent reporting of HF additives. A regulatory and data needs assessment for CO2 geosequestration will also be developed. The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) will be involved in reviewing and updating STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations) guidelines, with a focus on expanding them to include air quality and address additional issues in the hydraulic fracturing sections, as well as conduct additional state reviews.
Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), Oklahoma City, OK 73142-3019
The Ground Water Protection Council’s RBDMS program is now an integral tool used in 22 oil and natural gas producing states to manage oil and gas activities and evaluate the risk to source water posed by operations. The relationship between the availability of water and the development and use of energy point to the need for better strategies to ensure that both resources will remain available even as their demand increases substantially in the coming years. The implementation of resource management processes and programs will be critical for ensuring the continued viability of water and energy resources. Today, there exists a critical mass of water quality (and quantity) data to allow an order of magnitude increase with regard to modeling alternatives for water management. GWPC will develop a Web-based GIS model to assess water management options using existing and enhanced RBDMS analytical capabilities.
RBDMS will be enhanced to allow more efficient data transfer (performance, speed, reliability, and security) between state agencies and industry operators. The system will be installed in Pennsylvania and updates will be conducted in Oklahoma and Illinois. Electronic reporting and permitting applications will allow oil and natural gas operators to report production and underground injection data directly to state agencies and automate portions of the oil and natural gas well permitting process. These applications will be installed or enhanced in Colorado, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. Through existing and enhanced RBDMS analytical capabilities, GWPC will develop a Web-based GIS model to assess water management options in Ohio. GWPC will aid STRONGER, Inc. to identify interested states and subsequently perform reviews of oil and gas waste management programs and/or reviews focused on hydraulic fracturing-related regulations Finally, GWPC will conduct a needs assessment of the functionality required to incorporate regulatory aspects related to geo-sequestration of carbon dioxide and hydraulic fracturing within RBDMS.
The results of this project will enhance the RBDMS to allow more efficient data transfer (performance, speed, reliability, and security) between state agencies and industry operators. The resulting HF module will be a valuable decision-making aid to assess the potential impacts of HF on the environment and determine whether contamination incidents result from HF or other activities. Its uses also will extend to assisting with future review of proposals for downspacing, reduced setbacks, or infill drilling in shale production units.
Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
The GWPC installed a beta version of an RBDMS link to the FracFocus website for the state of Colorado. The link will enable states to upload select data from FracFocus to their database systems. Currently, 15 states utilize FracFocus for regulatory reporting.
GWPC is working with states to develop a plan for the national oil and gas gateway, which will enable the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to electronically receive production and injection data. Priorities for the gateway were discussed at the RBDMS spring training. Discussion topics included agency participation, reporting capabilities, and priority data fields.
Rules outlined by the Alabama State Oil and Gas Board require operators to publically disclose the hydraulic fracturing fluids used in coal bed and conventional onshore wells beginning on September 10, 2013. Alabama has become the thirteenth state to utilize FracFocus for the reporting of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities. To date, over 52,000 well disclosures have been uploaded to FracFocus.org.
The STRONGER Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup considered comments received from the Environmental Protection Agency and BLM and sent the proposed revisions to the Board. The revised guidelines were sent to state oil and gas directors, the American Petroleum Institute Environmental and Hydraulic Fracturing Committees, the Independent Petroleum Association of America cooperating associations, and three environmental mailing lists. Six organizations provided comments, which were sent to the Hydraulic Fracturing Workgroup for consideration.
The RBDMS fall 2013 meeting was held November 12–14 in Arlington, VA and was devoted to RBDMS policy and development. Adam Sieminski, EIA Administrator, provided opening comments regarding the National Oil and Gas Gateway, and there were discussions with state attendees about RBDMS links to the Gateway.
The GWPC 2013 Annual Forum was held September 23–24 in St. Louis, MO. Session topics included induced seismicity by underground injection, water availability and sustainability, water and energy development, and FracFocus 2.0 training.
GWPC hosted the co-located 2013 Stray Gas Forum and 2013 Unconventional Oil and Gas Water Management Forum in Grapevine, TX, July 9–11. Attendees from state and federal agencies, local government, oil and gas companies and associations, and academia discussed such issues as emergency response, investigation, migration, and prevention of water contamination from stray gas in areas of natural gas development and the challenges of managing and protecting water resources in areas where development of unconventional oil and gas resources is rapidly expanding. Presentations from the conference are now available online at http://www.gwpc.org/events.
The STRONGER review team met with the Pennsylvania Department of Oil and Gas Program management in Harrisburg, PA May 28-30, 2013, for a review of the state’s hydraulic fracturing rules and guidelines. The STRONGER stakeholder team reviewed the Pennsylvania oil and gas program and determined that the state’s program is well-managed and meeting program objectives. Pennsylvania was commended for its attention to radiation levels that may be associated with unconventional gas development. The results of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulatory program review are now available at www.strongerinc.org.
GWPC has formed a stakeholder workgroup in order to collaborate with the STRONGER Board to update hydraulic fracturing guidelines for state regulatory programs. Air quality guideline surveys have been sent to 35 states that have oil or gas production programs. The STRONGER air quality workgroup will develop a draft of new guidelines once the surveys are returned.
GWPC has updated the hydraulic fracturing chemical reporting website to version 2.0, which includes a database with increased search capabilities. Users will be able to search for records of wells fractured over a range of dates or wells that utilize specific chemicals during production. The website will allow states to download data from FracFocus and import it into their own database systems for regulatory reporting. As of May 2013, over 40,000 well disclosures have been uploaded into FracFocus. GWPC has started the preliminary transfer of data between FracFocus and RBDMS. The system will be designed so states can either receive transfer of data between the systems or just notifications of newly entered data.
At the 2013 Underground Injection Control (UIC) Conference, the GWPC Board of Directors resolved to recommend to the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that they adopt FracFocus as the official means of disclosing chemicals used on federal land during hydraulic fracturing activities. The Board also discussed the status of RBDMS in the states and the states’ needs for reporting hydraulic fracturing chemicals. Proceedings can be found at http://www.gwpc.org/events/gwpc-proceedings/2013-uic-conference
A beta version of the RBDMS well finder smart phone app is now being tested in New York. Nebraska is testing the new RBDMS field inspection module, which allows inspectors to use iPads, android tablets, and smart phones for field inspections. The RBDMS field inspection utility tablet application has been outlined to include additional hydraulic fracturing field information. The RBDMS workshop held in April 2013 was attended by 52 representatives from federal and state agencies. GWPC has published a white paper on Induced Seismicity: http://www.gwpc.org/sites/default/files/events/white%20paper%20-%20final_0.pdf
The Mississippi Oil and Gas Board updated Rule 26 in 2012 to include a provision for operators to disclose hydraulic fracturing chemical usage on the FracFocus website (http://www.fracfocus.org [external site]). The Utah Oil, Gas, and Mining Board approved a new rule on October 24, 2012, that requires companies to disclose hydraulic fracturing chemical usage on the FracFocus website. A beta version of FracFocus 2.0 [external site] went online on November 1, 2012, and will run alongside FracFocus 1.0 as users transition to the new system.
Presentations from the 2012 Stray Gas Incidence and Response Forum and the GWPC White Paper on stray gas are available at http://www.gwpc.org/events/gwpc-proceedings/2012-stray-gas-incidence-response-forum[external site].
The RBDMS HF module has been incorporated into RBDMS.net and electronic commerce (eforms) modules. Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado, Arkansas, and New York have all incorporated portions of the HF module into their existing RBDMS programs.
The following states have either adopted FracFocus or are working on legislation or rules to adopt it: Montana, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, California, and Ohio. In addition to these states, several other states have expressed an interest in using FracFocus for state reporting needs, including Alaska, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Utah, and West Virginia.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has passed a rule that outlines the use of the FracFocus website (http://www.fracfocus.org [external site]) for reporting hydraulic fracturing chemicals. Oklahoma joins Texas, Colorado, Montana, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania in the use of FracFocus for chemical reporting. Since its launch in April 2011, the FracFocus website has attracted 230 participating companies. Over 14,700 well records have been uploaded and the site has recorded over 200,000 visits. The GWPC has developed an online webinar to train companies in the use of FracFocus.
RBDMS Water is being updated and installed to implement the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s (COGA) voluntary baseline groundwater quality sampling program. COGA reports 90 percent sign-up for participation in the RBDMS water program that includes most of the 15 major operators in the state. The Colorado Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) estimates that 3,100 new wells will be drilled in 2012. RBDMS Water will be ready to accept well data in June 2012. The RBDMS training manual for Oklahoma has been completed and an eForms webinar was presented to the Pennsylvania DEP central office and field staff.
The GWPC is in discussions with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to develop an electronic reporting system for chemical use associated with Marcellus shale gas development. The Pennsylvania legislature is considering regulations that would require companies to disclose to the state any chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.
The GWPC continues development of the HF module programming for implementation in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Colorado. The HF module will receive updates as HF tracking requirements are outlined. The CO2 geo-sequestration needs assessment document will be revised and finalized based on stakeholders' comments. Electronic reporting of completion reports is being tested in Colorado. Electronic permitting will be extended to other states. An initial assessment has been made in regard to Pennsylvania’s needs for RBDMS Water applications.
The Council of State Governments has presented the Innovation Award for Natural Resources to the Colorado Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for the eForm permitting system. The Colorado eForms system was developed by the COGCC and the GWPC with DOE funding and its implementation has reduced permit processing time by allowing oil and gas operators to complete regulatory forms online. The permitting process has been streamlined to allow regulatory agencies to simultaneously review permits and the public to view and comment on applications. The eForm system is also utilized in Nebraska and Alabama and is being considered for implementation in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Montana.
GWPC hosts an annual Water/Energy Symposium, which focuses on the synergistic relationship between water usage and energy development. Recent topics of interest include water use for hydraulic fracturing and CO2geo-sequestration. Proceedings from the symposia can be found at http://www.gwpc.org/resources [external site].
Current Status (January 2015)
A draft report of the independent audit of FracFocus has been prepared but is not yet available for release. Findings include improving errors due to latitude/longitude entries on county/state boundaries and error reporting and tracking through the help desk. As of October 31, 2014, the FracFocus website contained over 85,000 well disclosures from 1038 participating companies. Website site visits have topped 1,000,000 visits.
Phase 2 of the National Oil and Gas Gateway involves making the gateway more robust with more data and graphing capabilities. Currently, the states of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas are pushing data to the gateway and more states are providing sample data. The gateway continues to be developed via the normalization of well types and well status across all states. The selection of wells or locations on a map will enable users to view a graph of production or summary data. The gateway is scheduled for public release in March 2016 with planned monthly data updates.
Project Start: October 1, 2009
Project End: September 30, 2015
DOE Contribution: $10,291,119
Performer Contribution: $2,810,573
NETL - Sandy McSurdy (email@example.com or 412-386-4533)
Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) - Paul Jehn (firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-892-1400)
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Electronic Oil & Natural Gas Permitting Leads to Faster Process; Wins National Award - News Release September, 2011
GWPC Risk Based Data Management System website [external site]
January 2010 Kick-off Presentation [PDF-1.22]