The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems
Technology Integration Program (EFD-TIP)
wrapped up June 30, 2016.


The final report provides an account of the work
sponosored by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy
for America (RPSEA). 

The Final Report and Appendices
for the EFD-TIP can be found here


Funded by RPSEA and Industry

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems – Technology Integration Program (EFD-TIP) was initiated in 2012, completing Phase 1 and all requirements to proceed to Phase 2, the implementation of the field tests.

The overall mission of the EFD-TIP was to identify and facilitate the integration of various projects/programs that can impact the unconventional natural gas developments in an environmentally sensitive and cost effective manner. The project addressed both exploration and production. Environmental impacts include: land, air, surface and ground water, emissions and societal. Technologies come from a variety of sources: (a) service providers, (b) other RPSEA and NETL funded projects, and (c) tasks related to the EFD Program. The TIP worked with other RPSEA programs and built upon the successful EFD program’s growing network of operators, service companies/suppliers, universities, national labs and environmental organizations.

The goals were and continue to be:

  1. Speed the commercial development of technology developed through RPSEA programs.
  2. Create an organizational structure that includes a network of regional centers that facilitate and coordinate field deployment of such technologies and document effectiveness of field operations.
  3. Perform field trials so that results can be evaluated efficiently as to benefit industry, the organizations with the technology, and the public sector.
  4. Document and provide the results of technology field trials so that promising processes, systems and products can be utilized in a wider range of unconventional natural gas plays.
  5. Emphasize programs that reduce cost and improve performance, lessen the environmental impacts, or address the societal issues associated with unconventional natural gas development.
  6. Include and report on safety improvements in the planning/demonstration of technologies, emphasizing technologies that foster a culture of health/safety/environmental protection.

The objective was to identify promising technologies which had received prior funding from DOE, RPSEA, other government sources and the first two phases of the EFD program. The award provided for a phase 1 planning process in order to prioritize projects that warranted the investment necessary to integrate or demonstrate the technology or practice in order to become commercially utilized. The ranking process included promising technologies; the ones that would not become commercial if they were not demonstrated and reported. The objective was to also identify those that would have a positive impact on the environment and safety. The TIP award rightly required EFD to utilize experienced regional leads. Regional centers were established to provide unbiased science relating to local, regional and national policies and to perform case studies of applying the technologies.

With that mission, the EFD built a regionally and technically diverse subcontractor team of experts; and a team of operators, service companies, regulators, environmental organizations and other subject matter experts that serve on an advisory committee. The committee, in a valuable way, vetted ideas and also helped to identify field test sites and gauge the relevance of various project tasks as they progress.

The EFD management team subcontracted with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to evaluate all prior RPSEA projects and rank them for including into the EFD-TIP. GTI used a technology readiness level method developed by NASA. We learned some projects did not meet the EFD-TIP objectives; others were promising but still required additional R&D, while others just needed a little technology transfer assistance. We also used our regional leads to identify other DOE technologies that could be included into the EFD-TIP. They also identified other potential field test sites in West Virginia, Ohio and Colorado where we could piggyback demonstration projects of opportunity.

In phase 1, we listed all the barriers that could prevent a promising technology or practice from being used. In that list we discovered that finding a field test site is a significant barrier to many of these promising technologies, particularly those managed by universities who do not have access to a site. Once a field test site was identified, normally a relative short window of opportunity, there was a big investment in time getting all the necessary permitting, NEPA requirements and safety training in place.

A variety of technologies could be tested at one site. This leveraging of technologies provides value by conducting multiple tests at one site, ending up with a huge cost savings. For example, when a site for testing produced water technologies was identified, we pulled together tests of several competing produced water technologies and also tests for air emissions, well site and environmental restoration testing. The EFD’s reputation of providing objective, unbiased, science-based reporting has encouraged companies who wish to have technologies tested and evaluated to participate and is also breaking down some of the past barriers others have encountered in getting a test site approved.

Phase 1 was a comprehensive, well thought out and executed effort that enabled the EFD-TIP Team to identify synergies, minimize duplication and engage multiple stakeholders in the planning process.

Technologies that have been incorporated into the field test program came from a variety of sources and were vetted by the EFD-TIP Advisory Committee that consisted of representatives from industry, environmental NGO’s and government agencies.

Examples of technologies that are included in the field test program and most will be combined in one or more of the 14 planned field tests include the following:




RPSEA Contract # 07123-01

Low impact access roads

Identify, develop and preliminary testing of new types of “disappearing roads”. Field testing of the concepts for application in the Eagle Ford to lower the surface footprint of operations.

RPSEA Contract #08122-35

GIS Analytical Tool

Program started under NETL LINGO effort, advanced by RPSEA funding, to develop an assessment web-toolkit for spatial decision support for optimizing location of O&G infrastructure within environmentally sensitive areas. Advance the technology for use in the Piceance, Marcellus and Eagle Ford, and make it commercially available.

RPSEA Contract # 10122-06

Various water treatment and re-use technologies

Perform tests on hydraulic fracturing water flowback and produced brine to identify required level of treatment that is best for re-use in subsequent fracturing operations. Various water treatment business ventures are joining the EFD-TIP team to test technologies and to provided documented data for pilot plans and potentially full scale commercial operations. Tests will demonstrate the technologies and determine optimal processes for various shale reservoirs.

RPSEA Contract # 10122-19

Lowering Drilling Cost, Improving Operational Safety, and Reducing Environmental Impact Through Zonal Isolation Improvements for Horizontal Wells Drilled in the Marcellus and Haynesville Shales

Field test of study of the cementing process applied in the Marcellus and Haynesville Shale fields and development of an integrated process to optimize zonal isolation, reduce job problems, minimize remedial cementing requirements, and reduce rig time spent waiting on cement.

RPSEA Contract #10122-39

Osmotic membrane water treatment

Osmotically driven membrane processes and novel ultra filtration membranes. Field testing for pre-treatment and treatment of hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids.

U.S. Dept. of Energy/NETL

Integrated Microseismic & 3D Seismic Interpretations

Interpretation and evaluation of microseismic and 3D data over a Marcellus shale reservoir in SW Pennsylvania. Interpretation of subtle faults and fracture zones, development of a discrete fracture network in the Marcellus shale.

U.S. Dept. of Energy/ORNL

Sensorpedia and wireless air emission sensors

Sensorpedia is a web services framework for sharing sensor information enabling transparency of operations. Testing the accuracy of wireless sensor technologies and comparing actual measurements to emission estimation methodologies.

EFD Alliance Member – Battelle

Dissolved methane sensor

A new sensor was developed for another industry that can measure dissolved methane in various fluids. Testing will determine if the sensor can operate under O&G industry conditions.

West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection

Baseline and monitoring of environmental issues associated with horizontal drilling

Evaluate noise, light, dusty, VOC’s and hydrocarbons before, during and after drilling/completing a horizontal well. Evaluate physical and chemical character of water used in drilling, fracturing and waste stream. Evaluate impact on ground water, surface water and ecology. Assess pits & impoundments, risk to environment, health & safety.

We also explored how other RPSEA shale characterization projects could be incorporated into the TIP demonstration efforts including:

The EFD-TIP team provides objective, science-based results that can be accepted by all stakeholders. The EFD-TIP field tests research and demonstrate promising technologies that address environmental issues and foster corporate development of environmental awareness.

The EFD-TIP was a 2 – 3 year, $10 million program ($6 million from RPSEA, $4 million in cost share).