PEFTEC - Abstract

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Abstract Title: Estimating the geoecological state of oil and gas steppe environments in USA and Russia
Abstract Type: poster
Session Choice: Environmental Monitoring and Treatment of Water, Air or Soil
Presenter Name: Dr Ksenya Mjachina
Company/Organisation: Institute of Steppe Ural Branch Russian Academy of sciences
Country: Russian Federation

Abstract Information :

Energy development is widespread in steppe zones, where oil and gas production can create large-scale and permanent land-cover changes. This is true in Russian Federation and US hydrocarbon landscapes. Understanding the effects of hydrocarbon exploration and production at the landscape level can lead to the development of environmental performance standards that benefit local ecosystems, while providing uniform practices for regulators, the state and industry. This novel joint research project between Russian and US investigators studies steppe hydrocarbon landscapes in Orenburg (Russia) and northeastern Colorado (US) by combining landscape ecology approaches with geospatial methods.

The central objective is to identify and select key landscape disturbance indicators to serve as universal models for understanding steppe landscape alterations related to hydrocarbon activities.Currently, data sets for Colorado and Russia have been acquired and preliminary analysis has been completed. Fieldwork in Colorado and in Orenburg region by the US and Russian teams has also been implemented. Many oil and gas production wellpads (objects) were visited and we defined key characteristics including: size, shape, amount of land disturbed, variety, amount and spatial distribution of elements in each wellpad. Initial results show spatial variation according to the type of drilling activity, location and age of operations.