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Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS), FracFocus, States First and Produced Water Initiatives
Project Number
DE-FE0027702
Last Reviewed Dated
Goal

The goal of this project is to continue successful use and development of RBDMS, a system that is utilized by 30 state agencies to track oil and gas well histories, brine disposal, production, enhanced recovery, reporting, and other operations to facilitate the development of energy resources. The expansion of FracFocus and RBDMS will result in improved access to resource data by the public and optimal processing of electronic permits by state agencies. Collaborative efforts on induced seismicity activities and issues will also be expanded.

Performer(s)

Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), Oklahoma City, OK
ALL Consulting, Tulsa, OK
Coordinate Solutions, St. Augustine, FL
OnCore Consulting, Rancho Cordova, CA
Line 45, Gaylord MI
REI Systems, Dulles, VA
Troy Web Consulting, Troy, NY
Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), Austin, TX

Background

The “Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS), FracFocus, States First and Produced Water Initiatives” project is executed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and is congressionally mandated. The project is not research-based but develops and enhances software for participating states to help oil & gas commissions keep track of oil & gas operations, thereby helping to protect groundwater resources. The main thrust of the project is to maintain and improve the RBDMS suite of integrated software products, as well as maintain FracFocus, which is the national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry. The current project started in 2016, but a precursor project ran from 2009 until 2015.

GWPC is a nonprofit 501(c)6 organization with headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. GWPC members consist of state ground water regulatory agencies which come together within the GWPC organization to mutually work toward the protection of the nation’s ground water supplies. The purpose of the GWPC is to promote and ensure the use of best management practices and fair but effective laws regarding comprehensive ground water protection.

The Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS) is a suite of integrated software products that assists state agencies in the regulating, oversight, and management of oil, gas, and Underground Injection Control (UIC) facilities and activities. It was developed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and members states, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. RBDMS streamlines communication between government agencies and industry by improving the accuracy of information provided for sectors like permitting, construction, and the management of wells. As industry practices develop and become more complex so does the information that needs to be shared with state government agencies. The RBDMS provides a strong standardized communication tool that shares robust data sets, including well details and strategic planning, which facilitates more efficient decision-making processes for various state government agencies and industry. This helps to safely unlock our Nation’s vast unconventional oil and gas reserves more effectively.

RBDMS member states have spent the past 25 years developing, improving, and rolling out new versions of RBDMS and related products. The result is a system that is designed to meet the unique needs of states enforcing regulatory and statutory requirements. Enhancements developed in one state are made available for other states to utilize as well. This spreads the software development costs among the group and frees up resources for new innovations.

Originally developed in Access version 1.1, RBDMS has evolved to the latest .NET technologies and has been adopted as a national standard. The current development on RBDMS 3.0 offers a web-enabled user interface. https://www.rbdms.org/

FracFocus is the national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry created in 2011. It is managed by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission – two organizations whose members are state government officials. The missions of both organizations are focused on conservation and environmental protection.

This site was created to provide the public with access to information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. To help provide a comprehensive picture of this information and how it corresponds to related factors, the site also provides objective information on hydraulic fracturing, the purposes these chemicals serve, and the steps individual companies and regulatory agencies are taking to protect groundwater. https://www.fracfocus.org/

The primary purpose of this site is to provide factual information about hydraulic fracturing chemical use. Although FracFocus is not intended to replace or supplant any state government information systems, it is being used by a number of states as a means of official chemical disclosure. The site receives reports from more than 1,100 companies reporting chemicals for more than 138,000 hydraulic fracturing operations nationwide.

 

Additional Highlights

RBDMS WellFinder is a free mobile application (iOS & Android) that is available for use by anyone who chooses to download the application and allows the user to locate any nearby wells using its GIS capability.

The application allows users to explore oil and gas wells in multiple participating states across the nation. Users can interact with the well information on an interactive map or through a data-centric view. WellFinder includes normalized values representing well name, status, type, and location information. This data comes directly from state regulatory programs and has links to state agency websites allowing the user to see additional information about individual wells. Users of the application include agency staff, emergency response teams, and the public. https://www.rbdms.org/rbdms-products/well-finder/

Current states supplying data and participating in the app include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The Regional Induced Seismicity Collaborative (RISC) was created to improve sharing of seismic data and ideas across the geological surveys of states located in the southern midcontinent of the United States (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Arkansas). RISC facilitates and adds value to the research that is already being done by the states, universities and geological surveys in the area. The regional approach provides a level of scale and scientific focus that facilitates answers to questions that otherwise might not be addressed when the problem is approached at either the local or national scales.

The Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (Bureau) serves as the lead institution for RISC. Technical leadership will be shared among the partners, including the Bureau, Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), Kansas Geological Survey (KGS), New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR), and the Arkansas Geological Survey (AGS). RISC interfaces directly with the GWPC and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

RISC also anticipates collaborating with DOE federal laboratories, and other state geological surveys individually, and collectively through the Association of American State Geologists. RISC also will collaborate actively with state agencies (e.g., the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, etc.) responsible for collecting basic data within state jurisdictions and for respective regulatory oversight, and other groups requesting or collating these data, including researchers, commercial data vendors, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. RISC focuses on informing the scientific community within the partnering state surveys and those outside of the state surveys who are also engaged in related research. RISC holds approximately six webinars each year on various subjects such as seismicity trends in the southern midcontinent, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois Basin, Fort Worth Basin, & Alberta. Additional subject matter includes seismic risk, hydraulic fracturing risk, and communicating earthquake hazards. The webinars and slide decks are archived at http://www.beg.utexas.edu/risc-workshops-meetings .

Impact

The expansion of RBDMS and FracFocus capabilities will enable state regulatory programs to manage mission critical activities and responsibilities more efficiently on topics such as permitting, drilling and completion, production, plugging and abandonment, inspection and compliance, and environmental protection. This includes improvements to electronic permitting and reporting for improved accuracy, efficiency, and reduced processing time. Newer RBDMS modules will address natural gas storage and pipeline data management and will improve public access to state oil and gas regulatory data. The creation of a Regional Induced Seismicity Collaborative (RISC) will address the issue of induced seismicity with the goal of integrating approaches, sharing research and data, and potentially cooperating on projects. 
Over 20 states have implemented one or more RBDMS products and have found that RBDMS increases efficiency in mission-critical tasks such as:

  • Reporting UIC data directly to the EPA from RBDMS
  • Automating oil and gas production, disposition, and UIC data from operators 
  • Managing environmental data
  • Capturing data from field inspections 
  • Offering online permitting, well completion reporting, production accounting, and sundry notice filing
Accomplishments (most recent listed first)

In September 2020 GWPC released an updated version of the RBDMS WellFinder application.  RBDMS WellFinder is a free mobile application for both IOS and Android operating systems and is a product of the award-winning Ground Water Protection Council’s Risk Based Data Management System, which provides powerful analytical tools for state regulatory programs and the public. WellFinder allows users to explore oil and gas wells, and Class 2 UIC wells for participating states.

In June 2019, GWPC initiated the Field Inspection Prioritization Project based on earlier work that focused on providing a framework and tools for prioritization of inspections of oil and gas sites based on geographic considerations. The project received positive feedback from member states at the spring 2019 Risk Based Data Management System (RBDMS) training, and GWPC is currently working to implement the solution in Utah.  The new prioritization scheme will function with existing state RBDMS databases and online maps.

The fourth release of California’s RBDMS 3.0 upgrade (WellSTAR - Well Statewide Tracking and Reporting) went live on April 30, 2019. This release added functionality to WellSTAR in the following areas: well stimulation, gas storage and EPA reporting. This release comes two and a half years after the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) began working with the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) to upgrade their software systems. Both operators and DOGGR staff have been using WellSTAR for over a year now. With each release more functionality is added.

In April 2019, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) Oil and Gas Division is in the process of upgrading from RBDMS Classic (Risk Based Data Management System) to RBDMS 3.0 (NorthSTAR).  On April 30, 2019 the first release of the application went live. It included bond and entity management capabilities.  The NDIC was able to leverage the application architecture that was developed by the GWPC in partnership with the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). The two live online forms in NorthSTAR were DOGGR forms that the NDIC modified to suit their needs.

July 2018 – GWPC released the RBDMS Directional Survey Import Tool that will allow state agency users to collect and store survey data from horizontally and directionally drilled wells and view that data in two or three dimensions with third-party applications. This will facilitate faster and more accurate analysis of proposed drilling, injection, and hydraulic fracturing activities.  The tool provides a standard Electronic Data Delivery (EDD) format for operators to upload directional survey data to the state agency. It checks for errors and processes the data to create multiple latitude and longitude points along the wellbore path. These points are stored in a SQL-Server table in a geometry field. The application also creates line features from the points, which are also stored in a geometry field. Agency users can then view the data using GIS software in two or three dimensions.

March 2018 - In the fall of 2017 GWPC began the creation of a library of state oil and gas regulatory forms as well as an inventory of fields on some of the most common forms. The Forms Project was released in the Spring of 2018 for use by GWPC and RBDMS partner states during development and updates of forms.

May 2017 – GWPC released the RBDMS WellFinder, a free mobile application powered by data directly from state regulatory programs, which allows users to locate and select oil and natural gas wells from an interactive map to display valuable data and information.  RBDMS WellFinder utilizes well data directly from state regulatory programs. This data, submitted to the states by oil and natural gas well operators for regulatory compliance, has not been manipulated by the GWPC and has been vetted by regulatory program staff.
 

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

$26,800,000

Performer Contribution

$7,209,307

Contact Information

NETL Project Manager – Bruce M. Brown Bruce.Brown@netl.doe.gov
GWPC Principal Investigator – Paul Jehn (paul@gwpc.org

Additional Information

GWPC Website - www.gwpc.org