The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) program, managed by HARC, provides unbiased science to address environmental aspects of oil and gas operations.  One key focus of the EFD Core Program is to create and implement a workforce program to foster environmental awareness. The purpose of this effort is developing workforce teams skilled in identifying and mitigating environmental effects of exploration and production activities. To reach a broad audience, we developed the free, online, and interactive EFD Virtual Site, featuring a drilling rig and hydraulic fracturing fleet with examples of environmental performance technologies. Working with industry, environmental organizations and academia, the Virtual Rig was launched in 2012 and the Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing site added in 2014. We have expanded the Virtual Site to include a Production Pad Site and the Virtual Offshore Safety Awareness Site (VOSA). The Production Pad Site is for visitors to better understand various processes and equipment found at a typical production location such as  storage tanks,  wellheads, separators, and equipment for treating and handling oil and gas before it is sold and/or transported by pipeline or trucks to refineries. VOSA is to help advance innovative improvements to safety technologies and culture as well as the environmental protection systems associated with offshore oil and gas development.

The EFD Virtual Site offers a ‘Tour Video’ that explains the oil and gas process, history, and terminology. There is also a 'Help Video' to show how to use the site. These short videos are hosted by Ralph and Rhonda Roughneck™ to  familiarize members of industry, government, education, and all stakeholders with environmentally sustainable technologies that are now available or are under development in the oil and gas exploration and production operations. Visitors are able to navigate around and through the rig as they interact with cost-effective technologies that reduce the footprint of drilling operations. By interfacing with Rhonda and Ralph Roughneck, users can tour or explore the rig site as they compare the 'old ways' with newer technologies such as closed-loop mud systems, small footprint rigs, advanced hydraulic fracturing systems and high efficiency water handling and processing systems.

This award-winning educational tool was built with gaming software to interactively engage current and future energy employees, geologists, and environmental specialists, promoting environmental stewardship among all stakeholders. The EFD Virtual Site was recognized in the World Oil Awards for Best Outreach Program in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, the EFD Program received the Southwest & Midcontinent Oil & Gas Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship, specifically recognizing the EFD Virtual Sites for distinction in outreach and technology transfer.

For information, contact Andra Wilcox – AWilcox@HARCResearch.org or 281.364.6036