US energy department to invest up to $39mn in EOR and natural gas research and development

The nation has grown to become a leader in hydrocarbon production, in large part thanks to its unconventional resources

One of the research and development programmes will grant $15mn to projects improving the efficiency and capabilities of enhanced oil recovery in offshore wells
One of the research and development programmes will grant $15mn to projects improving the efficiency and capabilities of enhanced oil recovery in offshore wells

The US Department of Energy announced up to $39mn in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects aiming to improve hydrocarbon technologies.

“Maximising our domestic resources is key to maintaining American energy independence and ensuring both our energy and national security,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The United States is projected to become a net energy exporter by 2022, and by improving technologies that enhance the efficiency of producing and recovering oil and natural gas, we can be sure to achieve that title.”

In a statement announcing the funding, the Department of Energy noted the US's growing role in the global energy landscape, citing the US Energy Information Administration's reports that natural gas production in the nation hit a record high in 2018, while crude oil production grew 17% in 2018.

“The phenomenal growth in U.S. oil and gas development—both conventional and unconventional—is changing the energy landscape in America and around the world,” said Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for Fossil Energy.  “Developing advanced technologies to improve oil and natural gas recovery can expand the potential for developing our vast resources.”

Projects are being accepted under two programmes. The first is titled "advanced subsea system technologies to improve efficiency and capabilities for enhanced oil recovery in offshore wells," with up to $15mn of funding going to projects that can "enhance the potential for EOR of conventional resources in offshore settings," culminating in a full-scale prototype demonstration.

The second programme is "advanced natural gas infrastructure technology development," which will see up to $24mn of funding going towards projects which "support the development of tools, methods and/or technologies to cost-effectively enhance the safety and efficiency of the nation's natural gas production, gathering, transmission and storage infrastructure."

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