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The Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program, managed by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), integrates advanced technologies into systems that significantly reduce the impact of petroleum drilling and production in environmentally sensitive areas. The team focuses on technologies for developing unconventional energy sources that can be used in environmentally sensitive areas to maintain our standard of living and preserve our quality of life. The objective is to identify, develop and transfer critical, cost effective, new technologies that can provide policy makers and industry with the ability to develop US domestic reserves in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

The program continues to add participants from environmental organizations, academia, state and federal agencies, government laboratories, and industry. Currently over 100 organizations support this effort including financial assistance. The partnership identifies new technologies and transfers them to areas that must incorporate new practices to address environmental concerns. Regional partners optimize technologies to fit the needs of their locale. Partners routinely come together to discuss progress with the sponsors/advisors. The program was honored with the Environmental Partnership Chairman’s Stewards Award from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission at their 2009 annual meeting.

Technology Transfer activities include the human dimension of technology incorporation in societal areas. Educating and informing is directed toward the industry, regulators and the public. The outcome of the program is expected to result in reasonable regulatory controls, lower development cost and reduction of the environmental footprint associated with operations. To date, the program has made over 40 presentations, issued over a dozen publications and has held four significant workshops. The EFD Program has created a University/National Laboratories Alliance to fund and transfer critical new technologies that accelerates development of domestic reserves in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. The research is aimed specifically at identifying and developing safe and environmentally friendly technologies.

The objectives of the alliance are:

♦ To use RPSEA’s information collection, synthesis, and dissemination organization. ♦ To tap into both University and National Laboratories scientific research capabilities by forging a partnership with operators, services companies, environmental organizations and other laboratories to help meet the overall goals of the RPSEA consortium. ♦ To bring highest level research capability to bear on the critical gap and basic research in technology needed to increase our energy reserves ♦ To provide fundamental research that can be later incorporated into RPSEA projects. ♦ To serve as a network link among the regional EFD partners and their constituencies.

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program integrates several projects and programs that are funded by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), private industry and environmental organizations. Additional funding is expected from the Minerals Management Services (MMS) through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Example programs and projects include:

♦ Texas A&M University—Systems Engineering Design Methodology: Low Impact Well Design Optimization: Will develop a computer program to enable operators to select and optimize environmentally friendly systems for drilling operations. ♦ Texas A&M University—Produced Water Studies: Investigating the various issues associated with processing produced water in the Marcellus Shale. ♦ University of Colorado—Best Management Practices Database: Developing a web site that discusses various best management practices and most applicable technologies to address various rules and regulations for operations in the Rocky Mountains. ♦ University of Arkansas—Dissemination and Decision Support: Replicating the effort performed under the Low Impact Natural Gas Operations program for the Haynesville Shale. Program will develop a GIS based information site that includes operational information, permits, endangered species, topography and other information. ♦ University of Wyoming—Western Mountain States Studies: Work will include the further development of the prototype lay down road system and initial field testing. ♦ Utah State University & Sam Houston State University—Societal Acceptance: Will investigate the public perception of unconventional natural gas operations in Eastern Utah. ♦ West Virginia University—Eastern Mountain States Studies: Will identify barriers associated with unconventional natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. ♦ Prototype Small Footprint Drilling Rig: Will prototype test new technology that have lower‐cost and lower environmental impact that can benefit domestic exploration and production. ♦ Application for Semi‐Arid Ecosystem: Will hold workshops to identify low impact systems for specific regions. ♦ NOx Air Emissions Studies: Will develop guidelines for reducing emissions from large diesel engines associated with unconventional natural gas operations. ♦ Reduced Hydraulic Fracturing Footprint: will identify alternatives to reduce the footprint including offsite operations and innovative fracturing technologies such as a novel process involving: minimal pumping equipment, low volumes of frac fluid and materials that are environmentally green and non‐damaging. ♦ Measuring the Effectiveness: Will complete the development of the EFD scorecard and will prototype test the measurement methodology. ♦ Ecosystem and Biodiversity—Measurement and Assessment: Will develop tools for adaptive ecosystem management to assist integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use.

The EFD management team is pursuing various sources of long term funding. Industry funding covers specific projects through 2012 at which time funding for the next phase, Phase 3, will be pursued. The program is positioned to receive funding from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), beginning in late 2010 that could extend into 2018. EFD management is also working with industry to identify Supplemental Environmental Projects.

The EFD management team is building relationships with State (Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, others) and Federal agencies administrators and policy makers.

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current13:01, 14 December 2009Thumbnail for version as of 13:01, 14 December 2009878 × 1,172 (317 KB)Richardhaut (talk | contribs)Texas A&M, the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) and TerraPlatforms, along with industry sponsors and stakeholders (NGO's, government agencies, others) operate a program integrating advanced technologies into systems that significantly reduce the im
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