Our Work

Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program

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, HARC and the EFD Team developed the free, online EFD Virtual Site, featuring a drilling rig and hydraulic fracturing fleet with examples of environmental performance technologies. The EFD Virtual Site offers visitors options to ‘Tour’ by watching a short video that explains the oil and gas process, history, and terminology. Visitors can also ‘Explore’ Virtual Drilling Rig or Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing Site. Working with industry, environmental organizations and academia, the Virtual Rig was launched in 2012; with the Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing site added in 2014.

The EFD Team received a grant from The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation to expand the Virtual Site to include a Production Pad Site for the visitors to better understand the various processes and equipment found at a typical production location. This added feature will include storage tanks, flow lines, wellheads, separators, and equipment for treating and handling oil and gas before it is sold and/or transported by pipeline or trucks to refineries. The Production Pad Site will be available online by the end of 2016.

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 –

To learn more about Environmentally Friendly Drilling Virtual Site, please visit

To learn more about Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program, please visit

Project Announcements

Researcher Announcement

HARC’s EFD Team launched the ‘EFD Virtual Site’ website, a free, online, interactive website/tool to help foster environmental stewardship as part of oil and gas workforce development.

Publications, Lectures & Presentations

Offshore oil and gas platforms that have reached the end of their productive life can be converted to artificial reef structures that attract diverse populations of fish and other organisms.

Researcher Announcement

HARC Carolyn LaFleur discusses EFD Technology Integration Program funded by RPSEA at the “Best of RPSEA 10 Years of Research: Ultra-Deepwater and Onshore Technology Conference,” August 30-31, 2016 in Galveston.


Primary Researcher