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DOE Signs $375 Million Contract with Consortium for 10-Year Project on Oil and Gas Production

RPSEA’s members. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), a research management consortium headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, have finalized and signed a major 10-year, $375 million contract to manage research and development of new technology for natural gas and oil exploration and production.

The purpose of the DOE program—the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas project—is to provide research for deepwater drilling technology and other technologies, including methods for extracting natural gas from on-shore shale deposits.

The program has three core elements:

  • Ultra-deepwater (> 1,500 Meters)
  • Unconventional Onshore (Economic accessibility)
  • Small Producers (< 1,000 BOPD)

RPSEA has been negotiating this contract with the US Department of Energy since it was selected as the program manager in May of 2006 and will award research contracts to universities, research institutions, national laboratories and industry partners.

Texas Congressmen Nick Lampson (D-Stafford) and Ralph Hall (R-Rockwall) announced the contract.

RPSEA is a non-profit national consortium with 90 members, including 19 of the nation’s premier research universities, five national laboratories, other major research institutions, large and small energy producers and energy consumers with activities in 21 states. RPSEA was founded in 2002 by five research universities and the Gas Technology Institute, a non-profit research laboratory.

To administer the program, RPSEA will manage a research program of $37.5 million per year and, through a competitive process, award research contracts to the nation’s universities, research institutions, national laboratories and industry partners.

The funding for the research, enabled by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is expected to come from the royalties received by the government, paid by oil and gas producers using federal lands.

This project is not just limited to oil and natural gas; these funds can also be used to research and develop many kinds of alternative fuels as well.

According to the National Petroleum Council, the United States has over 55 years of technically recoverable gas reserves in the lower 48 states alone. Much of this resource base, however, requires new, advanced technologies to reduce production costs and mitigate the environmental impacts of exploration and production. The Department of Energy has indicated that rapid technology investment could mean a 20 percent increase in natural gas supplies, translating into an $18 billion reduction in our nation’s collective energy bill. This new program will help the US fill a critical need as our country moves closer to a sustainable energy future while eliminating the perils of our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

—Representative Lampson




I just can't believe that number for oil and gas.
We pay and pay those people. I understand we need the fuel but lets make a better effort at all the other technologies that hold a future.
Throw the lobbyist out!

Rafael Seidl

Why does the US oil industry need this additional government money when it's just had several extremely profitable years and world energy prices remain high? Time for the private sector to take more risks.

Besides, while its good to have options, recovering more domestic fossil fuel reserves does nothing about global warming. Rep. Lampson's assertion that the money "could" be used for something other than advanced oil & gas R&D is just so much spin to justify a lot of pork going mostly to Texas. The industry's DNA is to drill and then drill some more, it's not going to spend a dime of this on renewables.




"..these funds can also be used to research and develop many kinds of alternative fuels as well."
" our country moves closer to a sustainable energy future.."

The only kind of sustainable alternative fuel to natural gas that I know of is biomass derived SNG. If that is what they want, then fund that.


The oil comanies pay alot of taxes.. part of that money is used to do general basic research into future tech for the undustry as a whole instead of just for 1 company.

Because some things have to be industry wide and thats what the doe is all about.

Also yes each company has invested alot of moey into ultra deep extraction tech.The time simply wasnt right the tech simply wasnt there.

More then anything this industry wide doe project is simple a small 37 mil a year project to keep a watch and keep on poking at these future techs.


Stop your crying! Feel free to start spending your own money on whatever "feel good projects" you think our nation needs to be more energy independent. Just more hot air by the talking heads it looks like! LOL



While I agree with most of what you said, stating that "The oil comanies pay alot of taxes" has nothing to do with anything, and is a weak argument for big oil in any situation. The fact that they bank hundreds of billions of dollars of PROFIT (i.e. AFTER TAXES) at the end of every year tells you something about their financial situation, and the so-called need for government grants in the consumable sector.


I see you still dont get it. This was set up via fees and whatnot long ago. They [ay in and research grants go out. Its just hndled via fees and taxes and such.

Much like how your streetsweepers or police are paid for. Corps pay tacxes and fees and get services too.

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