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US Department of Energy Announces $88 Million for Oil and Natural Gas Recovery Research

11/01/2019

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy has announced up to $88 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects enhancing technologies for oil and natural gas recovery under two separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects selected under both FOAs.

“Technology and innovation gave us the shale revolution that’s transformed the energy landscape here in America and around the world,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “This research and development will allow us to continue building on those successes and expand the advancement of both our conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources.”

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), proved reserves of U.S. crude oil and natural gas reached record highs in 2017, topping previous records at 39.2 billion barrels. In addition, proved reserves of natural gas resources reached 464.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2017, beating the 2014 record of 388.8 Tcf. EIA also notes that shale gas made up 66 percent of total proved reserves of natural gas in 2017. This success in proved reserves of both oil and gas are due in part to DOE’s historic research programs.

However, despite the large volumes of oil and gas currently being produced from U.S. conventional and unconventional resources, a majority of U.S. oil remains in the ground; in some cases approximately 90% of in situ oil is not recovered with current technologies.

The first funding opportunity is for $44 million under DE-FOA-0001988, Advanced Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery. The projects selected under this FOA will focus on reducing technical risks associated with enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and expanding the application of EOR methods onshore, both in conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The projects will also improve the understanding of unconventional reservoirs and improve recovery factors for these plays. Concept papers must be submitted by Friday, January 25, 2019. DOE anticipates selecting up to six projects for this FOA. Read more details here.

The second opportunity, also for $44 million in funding under DE-FOA-0001990, Advanced Technologies for Recovery of Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources, will support projects to enhance the characterization of emerging unconventional plays and to improve the ultimate recovery of oil and gas resources from unconventional reservoirs, which are vital to increasing domestic energy production and achieving energy dominance. Full applications are due February 25, 2019. Read more details here.

DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, also lauded the potential of today’s announcement. “We know we have massive unconventional oil and gas plays across the U.S., but there are still challenges when it comes to characterizing them and improving resource recovery efficiency,” he said.  “This funding will support the enabling R&D that can lead to breakthroughs in those areas.” 

KeyFacts Energy Industry Directory: U.S. Department of Energy

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