University alliance promotes low impact drilling

A collaborative research program to promote advanced technology for low-impact oil and gas drilling was announced today by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON -- A collaborative research program to promote advanced technology for low-impact oil and gas drilling was announced today by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.

The University/National Laboratories Alliance, established as part of the Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) Program, will fund and transfer new technologies that can accelerate development of domestic reserves in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner.

"New technology and monitoring programs can show us how we can better manage precious natural resources while reducing our impact on the environment," says Rich Haut, manager of the Alliance and senior research scientist at HARC.

The US outer continental shelf is a high priority for the Alliance. Public concerns about the safety of offshore oil and gas operations, and issues such as produced water, well cuttings, and greenhouse gases remain obstacles to opening new areas in the OCS for mineral leases.

Haut says the goal of the Alliance is to not only to fund research into new technologies, but also to coordinate these efforts and to share the latest research findings with leaders of energy, academia, environmental organizations, and government.

David Burnett, EFD project manager and director of technology at the Global Petroleum Research Institute within Texas A&M Engineering, says the new Alliance is an example of how federal funding of research and development can contribute to both energy security and environmental preservation.

Burnett explains that EFD represents new low-impact technologies that can reduce the footprint of drilling activities. "For example, we are currently examining the use of light-weight drilling rigs with reduced emission engine packages and efficient on-site waste management systems."

Other founding members of the Alliance include the University of Wyoming, University of Colorado, Utah State University, Sam Houston State University, University of Arkansas, West Virginia University, Argonne National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

02/17/2009

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