Tuesday, August 2, 2011

OIL AND GAS: DOE Awards $12M to Study Ways To Lessen Enviro Drilling Risks 

Mike Soraghan, E&E reporter

The Department of Energy is spending $12.4 million on research projects designed to reduce the environmental risks of unconventional oil and gas production, such as shale gas production and hydraulic fracturing.

DOE's Office of Fossil Energy today announced that it has selected eight shale projects and two enhanced oil recovery projects for funding.

The research contracts will be administered by the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), under the management of the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

"Information gained from the shale projects will further DOE's effort to quantify the risks of environmental impacts from unconventional natural gas development, and to develop technologies to reduce those risks and mitigate any unforeseen impacts," the agency stated in a release.

Recipients of the shale projects will provide $6.7 million beyond the $10.3 million from the federal government.

The projects include:

A GE Global Research project to remove naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) from the wastewater created when "fracking" Marcellus Shale wells, preparing it for treatment.

A Colorado School of Mines project to improve treatment of drilling wastewater using a "membrane-based" system that could be adopted by industry.

A CSI Technologies project to resolve concerns about hydraulic fracturing by evaluating the well-cementing practices of a major gas driller and looking for ways to improve the separation of water and gas-producing zones.

A study of the use of "cryogenic fracturing" with frozen nitrogen or carbon dioxide by the Colorado School of Mines


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