It’s no secret that hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, has been a popular topic for debate in recent years. Another occurrence revolving around this that has garnered support from some, and opposition from others, is Texas’ oil and gas regulatory agency, the Railroad Commission, updating its rules to address all aspects of the drilling process.
The latest version of the proposed rule changes is expected this week, and will be the largest revamping of Texas well construction regulations since the 1970s. These rules are important to ensure that toxic, fracking-related fluids do not leak into aquifers due to poor construction of oil and gas wells. These regulations will require examinations of things such as the quality of the protective cement placed between layers of pipe in a well, and a pressure test for the pipes themselves.
Keeping with the controversial theme around hydrofracking, some say the rule changes are too restrictive, and others say they aren’t enough. But most agree that hydrofracking does have the potential to contaminate groundwater if not performed correctly.
The contamination of groundwater can occur from faulty drilling or well completion. For the natural gas industry to ensure this doesn’t happen and to stay in compliance with these new regulations, it must keep up with an ongoing monitoring of site conditions and air emissions, management of production water, and the remediation of adverse environmental impacts: all of which involve the collection and analysis of large quantities of complex data.
Owners of hydrofracking sites and drilling companies need to take advantage of existing software tools to better organize their hydrofracking waste and water quality data. By using SaaS based software like Locus’ EIM to organize, manage, validate, visualize, store, and report this information, they can effectively demonstrate that this drilling can be done safely and transparently.