Oil and Natural Gas Programs
Water, Air, and Soil Protection
The advances of the last three decades in exploration and production technology (E&P) have allowed the industry to be better equipped than ever to find and produce oil and gas even as these resources become concentrated in deeper, more remote, and more technically challenging areas. Many of the same advances have also allowed better and more cost effective environmental protection. With each step up in performance and efficiency, the industry can recover more resources with fewer wells drilled, resulting in smaller volumes of cuttings, drilling muds and fluids, and produced waters. Technologies such as slimhole, directional, and multi-lateral drilling reduce the footprint of drilling rigs and minimize surface impacts. Other benefits of advanced technology include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and hazardous air pollutants and better protection of water resources. Environmental quality will be a continuing issue for the oil and gas industry. Both industry and government have roles in advancing E&P technology progress and environmental performance, addressing future environmental challenges, such as global climate change, and complying with federal and state environmental protection regulations.
Office of Fossil Energy's environmental program pursues improvements in the regulatory process, supports development of new technologies, and encourages policies for more efficient and environmentally-responsible oil and gas production. Continued improvements in technology could facilitate increased access to federal and environmentally sensitive lands.
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Page Last Modified: August 7, 2008