Exploration and Production Technologies
Building Partnerships with Results: Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Multi-State

DE-FG26-01BC15336

Program
This project was awarded under DOE solicitation DE-PS26-00FT40759.

Project Goal
The goal was to expand a variety of ongoing environment-related projects with the oil and gas producing States, including technical and training assistance, regulatory streamlining, data management standardization, and dialogue on regional oil and gas issues.

Performer
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)
Oklahoma City, OK

Project Results
Tasks accomplished during the project include:

  • Database standardization. This calls for improving uniformity within State oil and gas data management efforts.
  • Training. This entails conducting environmental compliance workshops and related educational projects on natural gas and oil exploration and production.
  • Appalachian-Illinois Basin Directors. This helps better regulatory efficiency through partnering opportunities provided by the Appalachian-Illinois Basin Directors group.
  • Regulatory streamlining. This supports IOGCC's regulatory streamlining efforts, including the identification and elimination of unnecessary duplication of effort between State and Federal programs dealing with exploration and production on public lands and the need to enhance and regionalize regulatory coordination and cooperation among the States.
  • North American Coastal Alliance. This puts States and Canadian provinces that have offshore petroleum exploration and production in a regulatory sharing alliance to identify areas of concern that may be incorporated into standard practices for offshore environmental and regulatory compliance.
  • Environmental and Technical Assistance. This promotes the development and implementation of risk-based environmental regulation at the State level through an expertise-sharing program that brings stakeholders together to develop guidelines and models to meet regulatory challenges.
  • Toxics Release Inventory. This calls for coordinating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that adequate information is available to the public regarding oil and gas exploration and production operations consistent with the intent of "community right-to-know" programs.
  • Public Education and Outreach. This demonstrates leadership in educating the consuming public about the exploration, extraction, and refining of petroleum; the economic value of domestic petroleum and its byproducts; conservation measures and their benefits; and other topics designed to assist the American public in gaining understanding of the importance of and defining a true picture of domestic resources.

Benefits
Recent regulatory streamlining efforts have been addressed by IOGCC in reference to the transfer of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) regulatory action on public lands to the States. Progress has been slow; however, IOGCC expects a successful and satisfactory conclusion. Funding received under this portion of the grant will continue work begun on this project to bring the BLM-to-State transfer process to a successful and satisfactory conclusion.

Much of the value that State regulators derive from membership in the IOGCC comes from the opportunities for formal and one-on-one interaction among regulators from oil and gas producing States, along with governors, Federal regulators, and industry representatives. These cooperative opportunities to share strategies, information, and concerns about emerging regulatory issues are uniquely time- and cost-effective for participants and are very beneficial to the States' stakeholders.

Background
Environmental issues are at the forefront of today's petroleum exploration and production (E&P) industry. States are constantly faced with new and emerging regulatory challenges on environmental issues, and IOGCC has identified environmental issues as a high-priority area through its Strategic Plan.

Project Summary
Pilot projects were recently introduced in two States using hand-held personal computers to prepare oil and gas inspectors' forms. The inspectors complete the form on a hand-held Palm computer while in the field, and when they return to the office, the information is transferred electronically to the main computer system. This saves the agency the step of inputting the information into the main computer system. It also creates a more accurate and readily available report.

Another project under the area of data gathering is a work group consisting of State statisticians that work on oil and gas-related issues. They have met annually for the last few years to share information on their own States' oil and gas statistical work and to assist each other in improving and updating their oil and gas statistical information.

Other projects funded by this portion of the grant include continuous update of the IOGCC web page that assists oil and gas regulatory agencies and industry, as well as other Internet users throughout the world, in obtaining the most up-to-date information on energy issues.

Annually, a survey is sent to State oil and gas directors, requesting their input as to the type of training programs they need for their States. From the results of the survey, training programs are created by IOGCC staff or obtained from other sources as requested.

In 1996, EPA proposed new rules that would significantly expand the reporting requirements under the Federal toxic release inventory (TRI) program, which would have included the upstream petroleum industry. IOGCC compiled and delivered a report to EPA that identified information available to the public through State resources. The TRI subcommittee will continue a dialogue with EPA, monitor their information, and provide them with additional data as needed to realistically solve the rulemaking issue for the petroleum industry, as well as for EPA and the regulators.

The States have worked over the years with the Federal government to collaborate in eliminating regulatory overkill and for greater coordination and flexibility. IOGCC has tried to coordinate State and Federal regulatory actions that govern exploration and production of petroleum resources on public lands.

Building partnerships with nationally recognized environmental organizations, other organizations, and individuals has been a priority and will continue to be. Stakeholders are brought together to understand and resolve environmental issues and will continue on that path. Publication of new books relating to environmental subjects, as well as revised editions of out-of-date books, will continue to be projects addressed by IOGCC workgroups, subcommittees, consultants, and staff.

The Appalachian-Illinois Basin Directors is a group devoted to increasing communications among the State oil and gas regulatory agencies within the Appalachian and Illinois basins producing region. They meet to discuss regulatory issues common to the region, and they identify areas for workshops and seminars to meet the training needs of their agencies. The emphasis of the coordinated work is a wide range of topics relating to environmental compliance for natural gas and oil exploration and production.

Recently, the North American Coastal Alliance held a meeting and a field trip that contained both offshore and onshore components. The members visited an offshore drilling rig and production platform and a hydraulic fracturing site. At the meeting, participants discussed continued development and updates of the coastal regulatory location to be included on the IOGCC website.

Current Status (October 2005)
The project is completed.

Project Start: January 24, 2001
Project End: July 23, 2004

Anticipated DOE Contribution: $1,574,788
Performer Contribution: $926,940 (41% of total)

Contact Information
NETL - David Alleman (david.alleman@netl.doe.gov or 918-699-2057)
IOGCC - Christine Hansen (Christine.hansen@iogcc.State.ok or 405-525-3556)

Logo for the 37-state member Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

 
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