SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., 7 March 2011 — Locus Technologies (Locus), the industry leader in Web-based environmental software, announced today that it has expanded its flagship product to manage data and information for natural gas exploration and production sites that use hydro fracturing to extract gas from shale.
Locus designed this expanded module in its Environmental Information Management (EIM) software specifically to meet the hydro fracturing industry’s needs for managing subsurface and water quality data. Since EIM has been used for more than 10 years at many oil and gas exploration sites and nuclear facilities nationwide, the system upgrade provides for rapid deployment, an unmatched level of functionality and data security, data validation, and scalability.
The relatively new drilling method for natural gas extraction—known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking—carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting large amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressure to break up rock formations and release gas deposits. Anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of the water sent down the well during hydrofracking returns to the surface, carrying drilling chemicals, very high levels of salts and, at times, naturally occurring radioactive material. There were more than 493,000 active natural-gas wells in the United States in 2009, almost double the number in 1990, according to the New York Times. Around 90 percent have used hydrofracking to get more gas flowing, according to the drilling industry.
“The hydrofracking industry has been in the spotlight in recent months and Locus wanted to provide this sector with a tool to prove its case to the public and regulators that natural gas production using hydrofracking can be done safely and transparently without jeopardizing drinking water supplies,” said Neno Duplan, President and CEO of Locus.
“We expanded our software offerings to manage and visualize water, waste, wastewater, drilling fluids, radionuclides and air emissions more effectively online. Since this industry is subject to a different set of state and federal regulatory guidance, we felt that the market needed an off-the-shelf tool to manage hydrofracking data. Locus’ software provides any natural gas production site that has a need for data management and reporting—and almost all have—the necessary functionality to meet these requirements,” he continued.
For the natural gas industry to stay in compliance with ever-stricter laws to protect drinking water supplies and air emissions, drilling companies need better ways to organize hydrofracking waste data in order to demonstrate to the public and regulators that hydrofracking activities are not endangering natural resources. They also need to prove that any dangerous waste from the wells is handled in compliance with state and federal laws. The EIM software upgrade helps address these needs for natural gas companies.