Washington, D.C. — Research projects to study ways for improving the environmental performance of unconventional gas development are being sought by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a facility of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy.
The research opportunity was released in a request for proposals (RFP) issued by NETL’s contractor, the Research Partnership to Secure
Energy for America (RPSEA), with a deadline of March 6, 2012. A second RFP, focusing on the needs of small oil and natural gas producers, was released on December 13, 2011, and will close February 27, 2012.
The RFP seeks projects in four technology focus areas:
- Minimizing surface disruption associated with unconventional gas development and disposal of associated wastes.
- Developing improved methods of protecting groundwater from contamination during shale gas well drilling, casing and cementing, and production operations.
- Maximizing the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing operations to minimize environmental impact by minimizing total fluid requirement.
- Developing improved approaches for managing the fluids used in unconventional gas development.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), signed into law in August 2005, added another dimension to DOE’s overall oil and natural gas research and development effort. EPAct’s Title IX, Subtitle J, Section 999 (the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research Program) enhanced opportunities to demonstrate technologies in the field and accelerate their implementation in the marketplace. This program is a public/private partnership valued at $400 million over 8 years.