California's RBDMS 3.0 WellSTAR Release 4 Goes Live

Posted by Erica Carr on 04/30/2019

The fourth release of California’s RBDMS 3.0 upgrade (WellSTAR - Well Statewide Tracking and Reporting) went live on April 30, 2019. This release added functionality to WellSTAR in the following areas: well stimulation, gas storage and EPA reporting. This release comes two and a half years after the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) began working with the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) to upgrade their software systems. Both operators and DOGGR staff have been using WellSTAR for over a year now. With each release more functionality is added.

Release 4 included important functionality to improve reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Automating EPA reporting is a big deal for DOGGER because they oversee almost 60,000 injection wells,” said GWPC Project Coordinator Thom Kerr. “With the automation that WellSTAR provides, DOGGR can complete their oversight and reporting duties more quickly and accurately.”

The new underground gas storage functionality in WellSTAR incorporates an entirely new set of rules that were just adopted for managing those wells. In addition, well stimulation regulations have been totally incorporated into WellSTAR including the permitting process, follow up process, notifications, and chemical disclosure. An operator has already used the new functionality to submit well stimulation permit data. Permitting and disclosure information is currently available on a standalone website but will be migrated to WellSTAR. Within a month the public will be able to access this data through WellSTAR.

Another unique piece of functionality that was included in release 4 was the ability to upload documents and associate them with a well or facility outside of the standard online forms. This allows operators to upload documents quickly for things like notification of facility changes where there is no formal approval process. DOGGR staff can also upload emails or other documents that provide additional information about a well or project, but don’t fall into any formal categories. California is the first state to implement this type of functionality. “WellSTAR is helping DOGGR be more efficient and better manage their regulatory process,” said Kerr. “They are capturing higher quality data and more of it. This data will be used to improve the regulatory process.”

Now that release 4 is complete, development has begun on the fifth and final WellSTAR release. This final release is slated for completion on October 31, 2019 and will include functionality for pipelines, idle wells, field inspections, and advanced search capabilities. After that release, new development will be complete, and DOGGR and GWPC will enter into a maintenance and support period.

RBDMS (Risk Based Data Management System) is a suite of integrated software products that assists state agencies in the regulating, oversight and management of oil, gas and Underground Injection Control (UIC) facilities and activities. It was developed by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and member states, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Over 20 states have implemented one or more RBDMS products and have found that RBDMS increases efficiency in mission-critical tasks.

RBDMS member states share technology which brings costs down for everyone. The North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) Oil and Gas Division has just completed its first release of its implementation of RBDMS 3.0 (NorthSTAR) in which they were able to reuse a significant amount of the work done by DOGGR. For questions about RBDMS, contact GWPC (Paul Jehn National RBDMS project manager) at [email protected].