This report describes work performed during the initial period of the project “Probabilistic Risk Based Decision Support for Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Facilities in Sensitive Ecosystems.” The specific region that is within the scope of this study is the Fayetteville Shale Play. This is an unconventional, tight formation, natural gas play that currently has approximately 1.5 million acres under lease, primarily to Southwestern Energy Incorporated and Chesapeake Energy Incorporated. The currently active play encompasses a region from approximately Fort Smith, AR east to Little Rock, AR approximately 50 miles wide (from North to South). The initial estimates for this field put it almost on par with the Barnett Shale play in Texas. It is anticipated that thousands of wells will be drilled during the next several years; this will entail installation of massive support infrastructure of roads and pipelines, as well as drilling fluid disposal pits and infrastructure to handle millions of gallons of fracturing fluids. This project focuses on gas production in Arkansas as the test bed for application of proactive risk management decision support system for natural gas exploration and production. The activities covered in this report include meetings with representative stakeholders, development of initial content and design for an educational web site, and development and preliminary testing of an interactive mapping utility designed to provide users with information that will allow avoidance of sensitive areas during the development of the Fayetteville Shale Play. These tools have been presented to both regulatory and industrial stakeholder groups, and their feedback has been incorporated into the project.
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