Drillers asked to abide by ‘good neighbor’ standards

An important aspect of being a good neighbor is not causing harm to your own next door neighbor's property. This is the logic behind the recent "good neighbor" standards published by the American Petroleum Institute (API), which are meant to govern horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in areas where these operations have never occurred before.

The API notes that unlike places like Texas, where petrochemical development has been an accepted part of the landscape for decades, the areas where drillers are choosing to operate now may never have experienced this type of development before. In recognition of this, the API recommends that drillers maintain an awareness of those around them.

"America's energy revolution is creating millions of jobs and reenergizing communities from coast to coast," API Director of Standards David Miller said in a statement. "The energy revolution is now occurring in areas of the country where oil and natural gas exploration doesn't have the same history as Texas or Oklahoma. API's community engagement guidelines will serve as a gold standard for good neighbor policies that address community concerns, enhance the long-term benefits of local development, and ensure a two-way conversation regarding mutual goals for community growth."

These guidelines include holding public meetings on safety issues, listening to residential complaints and developing relationships with local community and technical colleges to support job training programs. Most importantly, drillers should be prepared to avoid contamination issues. By working with environmental consultants, petrochemical companies can minimize environmental issues and protect themselves from liability.