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Zimmerman M.,Environmental Rsces. Management | Patterson K.,Environmental Rsces. Management | Hedgcoxe H.R.,Environmental Rsces. Management | Houghton J.,Environmental Rsces. Management | Berger K.,Environmental Rsces. Management
SPE Americas EandP Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference (Galveston, TX, 3/18-20/2013) Proceedings | Year: 2013

Unconventional resource (UCR) development requires a robust understanding of baseline conditions and potential for environmental impacts due to its dependence on water and other shared resources, geographic overlap of target locations and the presence of potential receptors. Using the Eagle Ford shale as a case study, this paper evaluates the emerging industry standard of baseline and ongoing groundwater monitoring to assess the potential for impacts to water resources from drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The challenge for operators has been to develop a monitoring program that is robust enough to manage current and potential future risk, while remaining efficient and flexible enough to accommodate changing development schedules. The monitoring program must be readily modified in response to new data. Recent work in this area has been focused on using risk-based assessments to identify critical areas where monitoring will provide key information on the potential impacts of drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations. Major components of a water monitoring program include developing the risk basis for sample locations, agreeing on the suite of analytes to be monitored, and incorporating the program into the development schedule. This approach helps operators design a "fit-for-purpose" program based on local and regional hydrogeology, surrounding land use and potential sources of contamination, the presence of historical oil and gas operations, current groundwater use, and the presence of receptors.


Ontoko R.J.,Environmental Rsces. Management | Bradley III D.D.,Environmental Rsces. Management
SPE Americas EandP Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference (Galveston, TX, 3/18-20/2013) Proceedings | Year: 2013

Unconventional development projects follow a general life cycle. Each step in the life cycle has a number of common activities that can have important environmental and social impacts. Managing those activities to reduce/control the impacts can reduce the project's business risks and improve the overall success of the development program. As the development activities become more production oriented, facilities will be more likely to undergo regular maintenance, and the potential for air emissions will increase accordingly. In recent years, the EPA has been working to reduce air pollution from stationary sources by closely examining the use of affirmative defense as it pertains to emission events. To this end, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued rules in December 2005 for permitting planned maintenance, startup and shutdown (MSS) emissions. While TCEQ has published guidance for MSS Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for refineries, the relevance of this guidance to the oil and gas industry is lacking, and additional guidance has yet to be presented. Upstream oil and gas sites have an MSS permitting deadline of January 5, 2014. This paper will look at the permitting and emission control challenges and strategies for complying with this impending requirement using existing mechanisms.

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