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News Release

Release Date: August 16, 2004

Drilling Operators Receive Boost from New Database to Weigh Options Regarding Waste Management
Interactive Website Provides Easy Access to Technological, Environmental, and Regulatory Information

TULSA, OK - Whether drilling for oil or gas, drill operators are challenged to apply the most cost-effective technologies while meeting stiff environmental regulations. To assist both small independent and large multinational operators in making wise economic and environmental decisions, the Department of Energy (DOE) has developed an innovative, interactive website to provide technically sound, unbiased information about drilling-waste management options.

The website, known as the Drilling Waste Management Information System, meets the practical needs of users by providing access to federal and state regulations, and technical information about drilling-waste management options, in an easy-to-use, web-based tool. By providing operators with easy access to regulations and waste-management options, the website allows them to choose the option with the greatest environmental and economic benefits.

The Drilling Waste Management Information System has three main components:

  • Technology Description Module—This module provides basic information about practices currently employed by industry to manage drilling wastes. The module divides practices into three sections: waste minimization, recycle and reuse, and disposal. Users can click on any of the listed technologies to access fact sheets describing each technology and including references for additional information.
  • Regulatory Module—The Regulatory Module identifies and summarizes state and federal regulations or guidelines that form the regulatory context for drilling-waste management. In the federal regulatory section, users can click on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, or the Minerals Management Service to access more information about those agencies’ requirements. In the state regulatory section, users can click on any state on a U.S. map, or select a state from a drop-down list, to be linked to a summary page with information about the agencies that regulate drilling waste in that state. All of the agency pages contain links to agency websites and to text of the agencies’ drilling-waste management regulations.
  • Technology Identification Module—In the interactive Technology Identification Module, users are asked to answer a series of questions about their drilling project. The replies lead users through a decision tree, resulting in a suggested subset of waste-management options that would make the most sense for a given well location or environmental setting. The Technology Identification Module does not attempt to tell a company exactly which technology should be employed; rather, it helps to eliminate options that are not appropriate to a user’s specific location.

The regulatory information, with its links to agency websites, should be a particularly valuable resource. The website provides unbiased information to countries developing their own drilling-waste regulations so that those countries will have a basis for allowing operators to use the most economic, environmentally appropriate options, rather than restricting operators to only those options commonly used in a particular country.

The website was developed under DOE’s Natural Gas and Oil Technology Partnership program, which supports joint national laboratory and industry research projects, and funded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Argonne National Laboratory developed the technical and regulatory material, and designed and built the website. Industry partners ChevronTexaco and Marathon helped select and review website content. Before opening the website to public use, it was reviewed by an external review panel, with representatives from state and federal government, major producers, independent producers, and service companies.

The website can be accessed at

Drilling Waste Management Information System Website


Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646