Reducing Onshore Natural Gas and Oil Exploration and Production Impacts Using a Broad-Based Stakeholder Approach

U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory DE-FC26-06NT42937

The path to meeting our nation’s energy demands and the path to preservation of the natural world rarely seem to converge although they ultimately lead to the same place: quality of life. Fortunately, we are at a definitive moment in time where technology, knowledge, and necessity have increased to the point where it is possible to produce the nation’s precious resources while also protecting the environment. 
As part of its mission to promote the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment, the IOGCC, through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Energy (DOE), contracted with A.L.L. Consulting to conduct a study about technologies and practices that will reduce adverse environmental impacts that may result from oil and gas development.

Recently, a supplementary task was approved for the IOGCC to undertake a “Basin Initiative Study” that will examine undeveloped or underdeveloped oil and natural gas resources on a regional or geologic basin scope to stimulate more widespread awareness and development of domestic resources. Researchers will assess up to three multi-state basins, exploring state initiatives, state-industry partnerships and developing strategies to increase U.S. oil and gas supplies while accomplishing regional economic and environmental goals.

States' Initiatave: Regional, Basin-Oriented Strategies to Expand United States Oil and Natural Gas Supplies

Making optimal use of available domestic oil and gas resources is key to ensuring adequate supplies of energy for American consumers. Due to recent advances in technology, economic factors and the increasing awareness of the need to develop new energy supplies, the production of “unconventional” oil and natural gas is an inevitable progression. This imperative has brought renewed focus to expanding the nation’s oil and natural gas supplies.

IOGCC’s mission is to promote the conservation and efficient recovery of oil and natural gas while protecting health, safety, and the environment.  The organization, a congressionally approved compact of states ratified in 1935, maintains a staff at its national headquarters in Oklahoma City.  In keeping with its mission and by leveraging its unique position, IOGCC has called for a regional – or basin oriented – examination of undeveloped or underdeveloped oil and natural gas resources. 

New opportunities for states to support and encourage the efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources will be identified. The effort will explore state initiatives and state-industry partnerships that address policy goals.  Each work group will conduct an assessment of underdeveloped oil and gas resources and potential regional or basin-oriented strategies to increase U.S. oil and gas supplies to accomplish regional economic and environmental goals while protecting health, safety, and the environment.


The IOGCC has targeted Shale Gas and the Marcellus Shale as the initial basins of interest. The Shale Gas Directors Task Force – comprised of the regulating officials in seventeen shale gas producing states – was formed and held its first meeting in February 2009. Directors identified challenges and opportunities facing shale gas states and discussed possible projects for project development. Directors will share best management practices, discuss current and future subprojects for development, and continue working on planned activities.


The Task Force determined that the most effective approach to stimulate Basin development would be a “clearinghouse” of regulatory information for Shale Gas states. The Task Force is currently developing content and information for a Shale Gas Website. Planned content includes the development of regulatory fact sheets on the topics of water management and water disposal, infrastructure, and hydraulic fracturing.  Scheduled to launch Fall 2009.


The IOGCC is planning and developing a Pennsylvania Natural Gas Summit, Planning for Progress: Infrastructure and Water in the Marcellus Shale, in partnership with Penn State University, scheduled for November 16 – 18, 2009.

Reducing Onshore Natural Gas and Oil Exploration and Production Impacts Using a Broad-Based Stakeholder Approach


“Reducing Onshore Natural Gas and Oil Exploration Impacts Using a Broad-Based Stakeholder Approach,” identifies and explores three important environmental issues that are being addressed using new technology and creative thinking. These critical issues are: (1) Protecting landscapes and water bodies; (2) Preserving air quality; and (3) Safeguarding wildlife.

This handbook summarizes solutions to issues that pose the most significant impedances or delays to onshore exploration and production activities. The handbook outlines approaches to avoid, minimize, and /or mitigate environmental impacts. The handbook is useful for regulatory personnel and the regulated exploration and production community.


This publication is designed to share the results of the Adverse Impact Reduction Handbook and to promote the IOGCC’s continuing efforts to encourage collaboration among government agencies, energy producers, non-government organizations and private citizens to protect our natural world while meeting the nation’s energy needs.