The Fayetteville Shale natural gas Infrastructure Placement Analysis System (IPAS) is a secure, web-based toolkit that can help streamline several critical tasks involved with the placement and permitting of new drilling pads, gathering lines, and other infrastructure:

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  • Initial environmental screening of proposed locations is available to producers through a variety of models, including slope analysis, spill modeling, and proximity to sensitive areas.
  • Secure version control allows producers to compare model results for multiple possible locations.
  • Proposed locations can be reviewed by multiple users within the same company.
  • Finalized proposed locations can be submitted electronically to regulatory agencies.
  • Regulators view the submittals in the same toolkit, allowing them to review the environmental screening model results.
  • Regulators can approve locations as submitted or propose changes, which are added to the producer’s database for examination.
  • Producers or regulators can add their own data to view on the system; added data is not accessible by others.
  • Producers can download their own features for use with desktop GIS applications.
 

A primary concern of GIS professionals and others familiar with commonly used spatial data is the misconception, by the general public and others, that the position of a feature boundary on a digital map implies absolute accuracy. In reality, every GIS data layer has a limit to its “spatial accuracy”, typically related to the manner in which the data was collected or created. In the Fayetteville Shale IPAS toolkit, the boundary of each critical data layer has been converted into a fuzzy “uncertainty zone”, the width of which typically reflects a 95% confidence level of boundary accuracy. Furthermore, the boundary of infrastructure features placed using IPAS also reflect spatial uncertainty. In this case, the spatial accuracy of the underlying aerial photography layer (+/- 6 meters) is added to error related to the user’s viewing scale (approximate width of two pixels x viewing scale) to determine the width of the uncertainty zone. Whenever the Sensitive Area Analysis is performed, the results reflect whether there is overlap between the “certain” feature and “certain” sensitive area, or perhaps only between the uncertainty zones.

 
The possible outcomes are as follows:
  • “certain” feature and “certain” sensitive area = strong likelihood of impact
  • “uncertainty zone” of feature and “certain” sensitive area = moderate likelihood of impact
  • “certain” feature and “uncertainty zone” of sensitive area = moderate likelihood of impact
  • “uncertainty zones” of both feature and sensitive area = slight likelihood of impact

Protection of water resources is a key concern for everyone involved with development of the Fayetteville Shale play. Around fifty percent of the total area falls either directly within subwatersheds containing state-designated Extraordinary Resource Waters or within subwatersheds that are upstream of Extraordinary Resource Waters. To understand the possible impact of a spill from a drilling site, such as could be caused by the failure of a retaining wall of a reserve pit, the Fayetteville Shale IPAS provides a spill modeling tool. Run on top of a filled-depression digital elevation model, the spill model will show the spill flow path down to the nearest water body or bodies. This model incorporates the D infinity method of determining direction of liquid flow from one elevation pixel to the next, which allows it to split flow more realistically to multiple paths, if the terrain would indicate such.

Recognizing the need for protection of private data in this competitive market, the Fayetteville Shale IPAS is designed with security and reliability as key concerns.

  • IPAS runs on a dedicated, limited access server located in a climate-controlled server room with full UPS and generator backup and computer-room rated fire suppression system.
  • All web pages utilize Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol.
  • Features entered by different producers are stored in totally independent tables, eliminating possibility of access by other producers.
  • All passwords are fully encrypted (“hashed and salted”) on server.
  • All industry best practices for secure web applications are followed.

For further Information, contact:

Greg Thoma Jackson Cothren Malcolm Williamson
College of Engineering Department of Geosciences Center For Advanced Spatial Technologies
479.575.7374, gthoma@uark.edu Center For Advanced Spatial Technologies 479.575.2734, malcolm@cast.uark.edu
  479.263.3911, jcothren@cast.uark.edu