The increasing demand for reliable, affordable, and secure domestic supplies of energy amplify the need for continued research into ways to economically access our Nation’s vast unconventional natural gas and oil resources. While there have been significant advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology, recovery rates for unconventional reservoirs are low, and a large volume of hydrocarbon resources remain in place. Additional research and development will help improve recovery efficiency, reduce costs for resource development, reduce environmental impacts of exploration and production, and ensure sustainable resource development.
As a result, these drivers provide a clear focus for the role of technology in enhancing the Nation’s ability to benefit from its vast natural gas and oil resources:
While the definition of the term “unconventional” has evolved over time, this research program is focused on the production of hydrocarbons from shale and other tight formations. NETL’s Upstream Research program focuses on a balanced portfolio of fundamental science, enabling technologies, and field-based validation mechanisms to accelerate the development of technology solutions and new sources of data to industry, academia, and the general public. The current portfolio of active projects is balanced among research thrusts including: