This week was a bit different than those prior because I began a new assignment from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Oil and Natural Gas (ONG). The ONG website is severely outdated so I’ve been tasked with updating site content to reflect current projects and changes as advised by program managers. This project will require use of editing/writing, communication, and analytical skills.
The Office of ONG consists of the following five programs areas: Methane/Gas Hydrate; Liquified Natural Gas (LNG); Offshore Drilling; Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR); and Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas (Shale). Each program is responsible for research and development (R&D) of tools and technology to produce resources safely and efficiently. (DOE. 2013)
Communication and analytical skills were necessary in my initial review of the website. These skills were needed to cite obvious issues/errors related to organization and irrelevant/outdated content. Here is a quick list of some of these issues found so far:
- There is no mission, function, and goals statement. This information is important because it provides clear principles that guide the work of the office and it’s intent in a brief statement. ONG has this information internally (there are posters around the office and on the intranet), however, it is not being communicated on the external site. Providing the mission/function/goals statement would be helpful to stakeholders who need a quick understanding of what ONG does at DOE.
- The first link shown on the ONG home page is an outdated report. The “Section 999 Report to Congress” should be archived because the report is from 2013, the program was terminated in 2014, and has not been renewed to date. Reviewing “Sec. 999F Sunset” of the authorizing law, Energy Policy Act of 2005, confirms termination (Public Law 109-58). As such, the report and corresponding material, (ie: federal advisory committee information), should be archived as well.
- Incorrect or indirect hyperlinks. Each program page had issues with incorrect or indirect links. This is problematic because the links are there to provide more information on a particular subject, without them it makes content confusing and inconsistent. Here is an example of this issue:
- EOR’s page lists 4 research projects being conducted/overseen by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) with each project hyperlinked to NETL’s site. Instead of each EOR title being linked to its individual project, all 4 link to the same NETL site that is an overwhelming list of all their active and completed projects. This should be updated to link each title to it’s NETL project page to simplify usability for those viewing the content.
Conducting the initial review of the website was a helpful way to reintegrate into ONG by gaining familiarity with outdated and current projects. This was also helpful when meeting with managers of the aforementioned programs because it provided insight of how new content should be curated, edited, and maintained in the future.
While working on this assignment I spent a lot of time reconnecting with the following program officials:
Louis Capitanio, Methane Hydrates Program Manager
Elena Melchert, EOR/Shale Program Manager
Olayinka Ogunsola, EOR/Shale Technical Expert
Marni Lenahan, EOR/Shale Analyst
The most labor intensive/time consuming part of this assignment is the verification and fact checking process. This was clear in reviewing the relevance of the Section 999 Report. Going forward I hope this will be simplified with input and guidance from the aforementioned program officials who can easily confirm, deny, and add valuable content.