The goal of the overall project is to develop a web-based decision support tool that will be used by mid-and small-sized oil and gas companies as well as environmental regulators and other stakeholders to proactively minimize adverse ecosystem impacts associated with the recovery of oil and gas reserves in sensitive areas. ANL’s role in the project is to develop a database of exploration and production (E&P) equipment and operational technologies that have been demonstrated to have lower impact on sensitive ecosystems than do conventional technologies.
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Washington, DC
University of Arkansas (UA), Fayetteville, AR
ANL is a partner in a larger project awarded under NETL’s Low Impact Natural Gas and Oil (LINGO) solicitation. The lead contractor is UA. The full project is titled Probabilistic Risk-Based Decision Support for Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Facilities in Sensitive Ecosystems.
The benefits of the project are better environmental protection while operating in sensitive environments. The decision tools developed through the project will allow operators to select locations within their leases and technologies that minimize environmental impacts while still allowing hydrocarbon production. Once the tool is demonstrated in the Fayetteville Shale formation, the concept can be transferred to other locations.
The project team has held several rounds of meetings with stakeholders. The first meeting was held in Fayetteville in October 2006 with industry and regulatory agency stakeholders. Following that meeting, ANL was asked to prepare a report that summarized all the regulatory requirements facing oil and gas operators in Arkansas. The draft report was completed in November 2006. A second meeting was held with just the regulatory agencies in Little Rock, AR, in December 2006 to discuss their concerns and interests and to receive feedback on the draft report.
Additional meetings were held in October 2007. At these meetings, UA and ANL demonstrated some of the web-based information that had been developed.
The research team presented a paper at the IPEC conference in November, 2008 as part of a session describing the Fayetteville Shale LINGO project results.
Project activities began in October 2006. The project will develop a web-based decision support tool that will be used by mid-and small-sized oil and gas exploration and production companies as well as environmental regulators and other stakeholders to proactively minimize adverse ecosystem impacts associated with the recovery of oil and gas reserves in sensitive areas in the Arkansas region. This decision support tool will rely on creation of a database of existing E&P technologies that are known to have low ecosystem impact as the primary objective of Phase 1 of the project. The technology database will be coupled with a web-based geographic information system interface that will provide site-specific ecosystem risk analysis for E&P facility layouts as the primary deliverable of Phase 2 of the project. The decision support tool will include evaluation of risks to the ecosystem, including wildlife; risk posed beginning with road layout, including decisions regarding temporary vs. permanent roads; hazards associated with erosion and sediment runoff to surface waters; drill pad construction and placement and well spudding, as well as probabilistic reliability estimations of ecosystem damage and costs associated with accidental releases of produced fluids during the course of the active extraction; and abandonment and closure of the production site.
ANL prepared a matrix that will serve as the layout for the project educational website. The web design team met with the University of Arkansas IT folks in January to share ideas on how to improve the Fayetteville Shale website.
The educational website has been developed to help explain the various roles of those involved with the development of the Fayetteville Shale Play. In addition, the website details the lease development process.
ANL has completed all their requirements in support of the main project, conducted by the University of Arkansas.
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