The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is seeking participants for the testing phase of a new initiative to promote advanced technologies for low-impact oil and gas drilling.

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems – Scorecard, established as part of HARC's Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program begun two years ago, will measure environmental tradeoffs associated with implementing low-impact drilling technologies in sensitive areas.

The scorecard will assess drilling operations and technologies with respect to air, site, water, waste management, biodiversity and societal issues. The objective is to ensure the development of reserves in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

According to Rich Haut, manager of the EFD program and senior research scientist at HARC, the goal is to have a common methodology that can be used across the United States to document the environmental and societal tradeoffs associated with energy development. Landowners, regulators and the general public can use the scorecard to objectively assess operators’ environmental performance. Operators can evaluate their own operations to compare to industry best-management practices.

“The scorecard is similar to the successful U.S. Green Building Council’s scorecard used in the built environment arena,” Dr. Haut says. “We started this effort over two years ago with a workshop that brought together over 100 individuals representing industry, environmental organizations, academia, government and the local community. Through this effort, we have identified key attributes that can be measured. After reaching a consensus on the measurements, we are ready to test the prototype scorecard before finalizing the process.”

The scorecard is an environmental management tool that can assist operating companies in planning and implementing practices to manage operational risks. Operators that use new generation rigs, low-emissions power packages, advanced rig site water management systems, and small surface footprints can potentially earn the highest – five-star – ratings. Operating companies interested in becoming part of the scorecard testing are asked to contact Dr. Haut.

Created in 2005 by HARC and the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&M University, EFD now is supported by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), industry and environmental organizations. The growing EFD partnership consists of universities, national laboratories, energy producers and service companies, environmental organizations, and government agencies. To learn more,

Created in 1982, HARC is a not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas, dedicated to improving human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainability science and principles of sustainable development. Visit HARC

For more information on the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems Program, or to participate as a test site in its Scorecard program, contact Rich Haut at 281-364-6093 or