Aii Highlights Oil and Gas Industry Challenges and Calls for Better Data Reporting

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) on Wednesday released its latest report, ESG in the Oilfield, which surveys how the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) approach in the oil and gas industry can give companies a framework for improving data collection and material investment. The report outlines how this approach both protects the environment and strengthens businesses.

The current model aims to produce high volumes of marketable product, mitigate losses, and clean up oil spills if and when they occur, but as the Aii report contends, this still leaves something to be desired. Available data makes clear that not only is this model unable to keep up with shareholders' priorities of profits and environmental stewardship, but it also does not account for produced water, which is generated in higher volumes and leads to greater environmental risk than hydrocarbons if spilled.

The Often-Overlooked Impact of Produced Water Spills

The information cited in the report shows that produced water incident rates and spill volumes regularly surpass the volumes of marketable oil and gas. Nevertheless, only seven states require that leaks and spills of produced water, brine, and other exploration and production wastewater from the oil and gas development process be reported. Among these states, the specific reporting requirements vary.

According to the findings cited in the report, equipment or material factors are the cause of nearly 80 percent of incidents, while human error accounts for only around six percent on average. Nevertheless, further information on the causes of spills can be hard to come by and is rarely disseminated widely among industry leaders.

"This study made two things clear about data in the oilfields. First, there is not a lot of transparent and accessible data in the exploration and production space. This can make it more difficult to identify and address risks," said Aii Director of Public Policy, Benjamin Dierker. "Second, the limited available data shows that spills occur primarily due to equipment and material failures. This is why it is critical to collect and disseminate information on what is working and why spills occur."

Prioritizing Data for ESG Purposes

The Aii report proposes that balanced ESG practices in the oil and gas industry must begin to elevate produced water and focus on data improvement. Together, these will reduce incident rates while providing a wealth of insights that operators and executives can draw on to efficiently invest in equipment, materials, and training for high-quality personnel.

While investments in materials and training are valuable and must continue, Aii suggests that better data must be a priority. Giving the industry and its shareholders better metrics will not only pave the way for improvement, but it will also help the public, shareholders, partners, and policymakers in ensuring progress. 

To read the full report, visit:

To learn more about Aii's energy and infrastructure work, visit

About the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure
The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization dedicated to identifying our nation's infrastructure needs, creating awareness of those needs, and finding solutions to critical public policy challenges. Aii strives to promote proven, innovative technology and higher safety standards in a non-partisan manner to achieve excellence nationwide. The Alliance is a think tank consisting of two non-profits: the National Infrastructure Safety Foundation (NISF) 501(c)(4) and the Public Institute for Facility Safety (PIFS) 501(c)(3). (

Benjamin R. Dierker
Director of Public Policy
Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure



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