Washington, D.C. A total of 11 research projects that will help find ways to extract more energy from unconventional oil and gas resources while reducing environmental risks have been selected totaling $12.4 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE).
Shale gas natural gas trapped inside formations of shale is contributing to a rejuvenation of domestic natural gas supply in the United States, with production having increased fourteen-fold over the past decade with a tripling of reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. FE research has greatly impacted this increase by helping refine cost-effective horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies as well as protective environmental practices and data development.
EOR, which involves using carbon dioxide (CO2), other gas, steam or chemical injection to release "stranded" or hard-to-recover oil, is currently providing about 13 percent of total U.S. production. EIA projects its wider use could result in EOR providing 33 percent of total domestic onshore production by 2035, while helping store millions of tons of CO2 emissions from power plants and industrial sources.
The total value of the shale-related projects is more than $17.0 million over 3 years with approximately $6.7 million of cost-share provided by the recipients in addition to the $10.3 million in federal funds. These projects include:
As a whole, information gained from the shale projects will further DOE’s effort to quantify the risks of environmental impacts from unconventional natural gas development, and to develop technologies to reduce those risks and mitigate any unforeseen impacts. The results of this research will be accessible to the industry looking to apply new technologies, to the public looking to understand the true costs and benefits of domestic energy development, and to regulators looking to craft and implement scientifically grounded regulations.
Meanwhile, the total value of the mature domestic oil fields related projects is more than $3.2 million over 3 years with approximately $1.1 million of cost-share provided by the recipients in addition to the $2.1 million in federal funds. Because the fields involved are located in areas with existing oil and gas infrastructure and decades of historical production activity, the impact on the environment of incremental increases in production will be negligible compared to that associated with production from new oil plays. These projects include: