Press Releases

HARC Launches Interactive Hydraulic Fracturing Virtual Site

Posting Date: 
Monday, September 22, 2014

Anyone with a computer can now take a virtual tour of the safest and best practices available for hydraulic fracturing.

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program, managed by HARC (the Houston Advanced Research Center), has announced the launch of its Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing website.

Located at, the site is free and available to the public. It is an extension of the Virtual Drilling Rig site EFD released in October of 2012.

With funding from the Ground Water Protection Council, HARC worked with the Epic Software Group and other members of the EFD team to develop the interactive, multimedia web application.

Dr. Rich Haut, Director of the EFD Program, said that the new site demonstrates the latest advances in environmentally friendly technologies that can be used to address issues associated with natural gas development on hydraulic fracturing sites.

“The use of this state-of-the-art gaming software and graphics application is intended to familiarize users with the best practices associated with hydraulic fracturing, as well as increase the public’s understanding of these operations,” Haut said.

The new site was developed in response to requests by operators, service companies, suppliers and environmental organizations interested in mitigating the environmental costs sometimes associated with fracturing.

“Incorporating environmentally sound, low impact technologies and practices in hydraulic fracturing operations has great value to industry, our nation and our communities,” Haut continued.

Site visitors can “walk around” a hydraulic fracturing site and, when they come across an object that turns green, can click it to reveal videos, case studies and literature that show methods and tools to address environmental issues. The program is designed to share environmentally sustainable technologies -- now available or under development -- with those in industry, government and education.

The initial Virtual Drilling Rig site project was managed by HARC with funding from the Texas General Land Office through a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Coastal Impact Assistance Program. The EFD Virtual Site has been selected as a finalist for the 2014 Best Outreach Program by World Oil. Winners of this prestigious award will be named in mid-October.

Examples of the technologies showcased in the site include dust suppression systems, proppant storage and transport options, advanced hydraulic fracturing systems, and high efficiency water handling and processing systems. The site will be updated regularly to share latest findings and technologies.

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems program is a research and demonstration group investigating new technologies that can help reduce the impact of oil and gas exploration and production along the Texas Gulf Coast and beyond.

HARC, a not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas, is a research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. HARC is focused on building a sustainable future that helps people thrive and nature flourish.

epic Software Group is a multimedia production company located in The Woodlands. Founded in 1990, the company operates a state-of-the-art production studio to create web sites, 3D animations, multimedia presentations, video productions and commercial photography.

HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center)
Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD)
Rich Haut, Ph.D., 281-364-6093

New Virtual Site Landing Page

The safest and best practices available for hydraulic fracturing can now be accessed through anyone's desktop computer. HARC announced the launch of its Virtual Hydraulic Fracturing System, a free, interactive application, on Sept. 22, 2014. Here Roughnecks Ralph and Rhonda guide visitors through the site. Photo courtesy: epic software group and HARC

Environmentally sound practices for fracturing are the latest additions to HARC's Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) web site. This view of a fracturing operation from the ground near the wellhead is one of many illustrations, case studies and videos used to demonstrate the latest and safest technologies. The site, released in September 2014, is an extension of the highly acclaimed Virtual Drilling Rig site released in 2012. Photo courtesy: epic software group and HARC.