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Title: Annual Report: EPAct Complementary Program's Ultra-Deepwater R&D Portfolio and Unconventional Resources R&D Portfolio (30 September 2012)

This report summarizes FY13 research activities performed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Office of Research and Development (ORD), along with its partners in the Regional University Alliance (RUA) to fulfill research needs under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) Section 999's Complementary Program. Title IX, Subtitle J, Section 999A(d) of EPAct 2005 authorizes $50 million per year of federal oil and gas royalties, rents and bonus payments for an oil and natural gas research and development effort, the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research Program. Section 999 further prescribes four program elements for the effort, one of which is the Complementary Research Program that is to be performed by NETL. This document lays out the plan for the research portfolio for the Complementary Research Program, with an emphasis on the 2013 funding. The Complementary Program consists of two research portfolios focused on domestic resources: (1) the Deepwater and Ultra-Deepwater Portfolio (UDW) (focused on hydrocarbons in reservoirs in extreme environments) and (2) the Unconventional Resources Portfolio (UCR) (focused on hydrocarbons in shale reservoirs). These two portfolios address the science base that enables these domestic resources to be produced responsibly, informing both regulators and operators.more » NETL is relying on a core Department of Energy-National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL) competency in engineered-natural systems to develop this science base, allowing leveraging of decades of investment. NETL's Complementary Research Program research portfolios support the development of unbiased research and information for policymakers and the public, performing rapid predictions of possible outcomes associated with unexpected events, and carrying out quantitative assessments for energy policy stakeholders that accurately integrate the risks of safety and environmental impacts. The objective of this body of work is to build the scientific understanding and assessment tools necessary to develop the confidence that key domestic oil and gas resources can be produced safely and in an environmentally sustainable way. For the Deepwater and Ultra-Deepwater Portfolio, the general objective is to develop a scientific base for predicting and quantifying potential risks associated with exploration and production in extreme offshore environments. This includes: (1) using experimental studies to improve understanding of key parameters (e.g., properties and behavior of materials) tied to loss-of-control events in deepwater settings, (2) compiling data on spatial variability for key properties used to characterize and simulate the natural and engineered components involved in extreme offshore settings, and (3) utilizing findings from (1) and (2) in conjunction with integrated assessment models to model worst-case scenarios, as well as assessments of most likely scenarios relative to potential risks associated with flow assurance and loss of control. This portfolio and approach is responsive to key Federal-scale initiatives including the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee (OESC). In particular, the findings and recommendations of the OESC's Spill Prevention Subcommittee are addressed by aspects of the Complementary Program research. The Deepwater and Ultra-Deepwater Portfolio is also aligned with some of the goals of the United States- Department of the Interior (US-DOI) led Alaska Interagency Working Group (AIWG) which brings together state, federal, and tribal government personnel in relation to energy-related issues and needs in the Alaskan Arctic. For the Unconventional Fossil Resources Portfolio, the general objective is to develop a sufficient scientific base for predicting and quantifying potential risks associated with the oil/gas resources in shale reservoirs that require hydraulic fracturing and/or other engineering measures to produce. The major areas of focus include: (1) improving predictions of fugitive methane and greenhouse gas emissions, (2) predicting the composition and volume of waters produced during shale gas development, (3) predicting subsurface fluid and gas migration, and (4) predicting subsurface phenomena (e.g., geophysical and geomechanical responses) using the application of field measurements and observations. The portfolio is building a general understanding of: (1) spatial variations in reservoir properties that impact risk, (2) wellbore integrity (particularly for pre-existing wellbores), (3) fracture propagation dynamics, (4) groundwater geochemistry and hydrogeology, and (5) air quality. This portfolio and approach is responsive to key Federal-scale initiatives including the Multi-Agency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research.« less
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  1. NETL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Energy Technology Laboratory - In-house Research
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States