|Publisher||Society of Petroleum Engineers||Language||English|
|Content Type||Conference Paper|
|Title||Joint Industry/Government/University Programs of Research and Development|
|Authors||Bourgoyne Jr., A.T., Louisiana State U.|
SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 27-30 September 1987, Dallas, Texas
|Copyright||Copyright 1987, Society of Petroleum Engineers|
The most serious short and long-term energy problem in the United States is the inadequate supply of domestic petroleum for transportation fuels. National energy problems stem from rapidly declining domestic petroleum resources, the manipulated world market for oil, and insufficient research and development.
Most petroleum research is currently funded by industry or government in their own laboratories. This approach has the following shortcomings: (1) competing oil companies are duplicating research efforts, (2) the technology transfer and end-user feedback essential to making research and development effective does not occur in an efficient manner, and (3) funding of large projects is difficult and may prevent the undertaking of a number of desirable studies.
Joint industry/government/university programs are emerging as a viable alternative for directing, managing, and funding research. This format can help minimize nonproductive and redundant research efforts. It also greatly strengthens the academic programs that are needed to provide highly trained professionals for the energy industries. This is especially true for disciplines, such as Petroleum Engineering, which are closely tied to the oil and gas producing industry and its cyclical manpower needs.
Academic institutions were surveyed to compile a list of existing joint research ventures. The type of contractual arrangements and management structures used in the existing programs were determined. Comments are made on the strong points and problem areas experienced in various types of cooperative research programs.
Oil and gas continues to satisfy the largest portion of U.S. energy needs. This is not expected to change over the next several decades. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels are especially important for transportation, a use for which viable economic alternatives are not likely for at least a generation. Unfortunately, the technical challenges to maintaining our current level of production will continue to become greater as we consume our more readily obtainable resources. It is important that we continue to meet these challenges if we are to avoid import levels that threaten our security and economic stability. A high and sustained level of research and development will be required if we are to succeed in this endeavor.
Since 1979, the policy of the U.S. government has been to phase-out much of the research directed towards oil and gas and to depend on private industry to accomplish the needed work. Shown in Fig. 1 is a breakdown of the 1988 fiscal year non-defense research budget request of the U.S. Department of Energy. Note that the Oil and Gas Category accounts for only about 1% of the budget. Also shown for comparison are current and projected breakdowns of energy use in the U.S. In contrast, some European nations are plowing back a portion of their oil and gas income for research and expenditures are more in line with the value of their resource.
The recent collapse of the price of oil has had a significant impact on the ability of the petroleum producing industry to invest in research. Mergers and acquisitions have resulted in consolidations and down-sizing of many research facilities and staffs. Because of the competitive nature of private industry, much of the research is not made available to others, and there is considerable duplication of effort within various major companies. Almost half of the U.S. oil production is from independent producers that are too small to maintain any research staff.
|File Size||465 KB||6|