Comments: New R&D Efforts
- John Donnelly (JPT Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 2007
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 12 - 12
- 2007. Society of Petroleum Engineers
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- 24 since 2007
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The US National Petroleum Council recently released a comprehensive study of the global oil outlook to the year 2030. The report, which involved numerous industry and nonindustry groups as well as 19 key producing and consuming countries, concluded that global energy demand will grow by more than 50% during this time frame in response to rising population and living standards. Commissioned by the US government, the study lays out in detail the significant energy problems facing both consumers and producers. Finding new energy supplies, and creating the technologies to develop them, will take huge investments by the industry going forward.
A unique public/private partnership is taking up part of that challenge. The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) was created out of the US Energy Policy Act of 2005. The program will provide US 50 million over 10 years for the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of technologies aimed at boosting production and maximizing E&P efficiency. The group hopes to make it possible to access ultradeepwater and unconventional onshore hydrocarbon resources that are currently inaccessible or uneconomical to develop with current technology. The focus initially will be on accessing four ultradeepwater-field types in the Gulf of Mexico and three onshore unconventional-gas/resource types, and helping small producers enhance recovery from mature fields. The objective is to leverage research dollars and the technical expertise and experience of RPSEA members to conduct industry-led R&D work that eventually will lead to commercial technologies in these areas.
The program will allocate USD 17.5 million for technologies and architecture in water depths greater than 1500 m or drilling depths greater than 4575 m on the outer continental shelf; USD 16.25 million for unconventional onshore natural gas and other resources; and USD 3.75 million for producers with less than 1,000 BOE/D of output to help advance technology for mature fields. Among the targets are helping maximize the small producer’s existing asset base and leveraging existing infrastructure, enhancing output from older assets, and minimizing surface and overall environmental impact. The rest of the money in the program will be for related research performed by the US National Energy Technology Laboratory.
RPSEA—which was founded in 2002 by five research universities and the Gas Technology Institute—already has 108 members, including large operators, independents, service companies, universities, and research laboratories. It won the right to administer this US Department of Energy program through a competitive bidding process. But the program’s success will depend on the project proposals it gets during its solicitation process, says the organization’s president, C. Michael Ming, who recently served on the program committee for an SPE Emerging Technology Workshop on seismic while drilling. RPSEA plans to begin posting requests for project proposals this month. It will review proposals through the end of the year and award project contracts in the first quarter of next year. It expects to solicit project proposals annually through the life of the program.
Unlike private R&D efforts, this public/private partnership aims to share R&D results widely throughout the industry to help boost overall production. This also will benefit non-US producers and end users. Parties interested in potential projects can find more information at www.rpsea.org.
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