FERC Issues Final HDD Monitoring, IR Response Guidance

HOUSTON (UC) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released guidance by the Environment staff of its Office of Energy Projects to help industry professionals improve the quality and consistency of their HDD plans.

The guide, titled "Horizontal Directional Drill Monitoring, Inadvertent Return Response, and Contingency Plans," is available for download from the FERC website.

The final guidance, which addresses industry feedback FERC received to its earlier draft, is intended to describe the technical components of an HDD Plan, including drilling fluid composition and management, monitoring procedures, and response procedures for an inadvertent return of drilling fluid to the ground surface (IR).

FERC staff also identify and discuss information that is not specifically required by regulation, but is often considered during staff’s environmental review.

The document includes an outline for preparation of an HDD plan in a format FERC says is not mandatory, but which has been effective in past presentations to the commission. It also provides a details on drilling fluid management, documentation requirements and a checklist of procedures and materials needed for effective response to IRs.

By providing the guidance to industry professionals, FERC said, it hopes to also, "as a result, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the commission's environmental review and reduce the need for supplemental data requests."

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