Petrotrin, a state owned company has production operations which span the whole of south Trinidad. The company has numerous wells, the miles of gas and oil lines, and the passage of these lines through agricultural areas, towns and villages are a major environmental concern to the company. Many of these installations were inherited from predecessor companies.

Geographical Information System (GIS) technology is only about twenty years, and its usefulness over the years has shown that it is a cost saving to the company. Groups monitoring GIS has concluded that it is a billion dollar industry if one were to add the value of the software, hardware and services. Other computer software packages are not as beneficial as GIS. In GIS the storage of data is independent of the mode of presentation4 .

GIS can provide the following information needed for management to make the right decisions:

  • identify all areas within 100 feet of the wells

  • identify all watercourses within 100 feet of installations

  • identify all buildings, agricultural lands that are within 100 feet of the gas and crude oil pipelines among others.

Several departments within Petrotrin can look at the same data simultaneously because GIS allows that flexibility. Previously, in using paper maps only one person can look at the information since there were not several copies of these maps circulating. If these maps had to be updated it took a long time. Now with the GIS software and hardware packages more than one person can look at the same data and make faster decisions. The report presented herein conveys the benefits of using GIS in environmental decisions in Petrotrin's production operations.

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