DOE to grant up to $88M for oil, gas recovery technologies

Published on January 14, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy will grant up to $88 million for two separate research and development initiatives to enhance technologies for oil and natural gas recovery.

Proved reserves of U.S. crude oil and natural gas reached a record high of 39.2 billion barrels in 2017, while reserves of natural gas resources reached 464.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2017, beating the 2014 record of 388.8 Tcf, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Further, shale gas made up 66 percent of total proved reserves of natural gas in 2017. This success is due in part to DOE’s research programs.

However, with all this success, the fact remains that the majority of U.S. oil remains in the ground. Some estimates say that approximately 90 percent of in situ oil is not recovered using current technologies.

“Technology and innovation gave us the shale revolution that’s transformed the energy landscape here in America and around the world,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said. “This research and development will allow us to continue building on those successes and expand the advancement of both our conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources.”

The first funding opportunity is for $44 million for Advanced Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery. The projects selected under this opportunity will focus on reducing technical risks associated with enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and expanding the application of EOR methods onshore. These projects will improve the understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors. Concept papers must be submitted by Jan. 25, 2019. DOE may select up to six projects for this opportunity.

The second opportunity will grant $44 million for Advanced Technologies for Recovery of Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources. This one will support projects to enhance the characterization of emerging unconventional plays and to improve the ultimate recovery of oil and gas resources from unconventional reservoirs. Full applications are due Feb. 25.

“We know we have massive unconventional oil and gas plays across the U.S., but there are still challenges when it comes to characterizing them and improving resource recovery efficiency,” he said. “This funding will support the enabling R&D that can lead to breakthroughs in those areas,” DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg said.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects. The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to further the responsible development of the Nation’s fossil resources.