RPSEA rolls out 10-year plan for U.S. oil and gas R&D

By Patrick C. Miller | January 23, 2018

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) has released a technology roadmap for the U.S. onshore and offshore oil and gas industry, providing an outline of the challenges and research needs for the industry over the next decade.

The organization’s network of experts examined where research and development investments can provide the best value for energy security, jobs and the economy while improving safety and environmental performance.

Entitled, “Keeping it going for the long haul—the easy stuff is gone,” the plan includes technologies to improve safety and environmental performance; information on emerging shale plays and offshore satellite fields; and improved recovery methods for onshore and offshore reservoirs.

“No one knows what the energy industry will look like in the next ten years, but we do know in order to maintain our leadership position, the United States must compete on a global basis, take full advantage of rapidly evolving technology and address the variety of challenges we will face,” said Tom Williams, RPSEA president.

According to RPSEA, the technology roadmap builds upon the organization’s program over the past 10 years which works with the industry, academia and the Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

The transfer and application of new ideas and results will be facilitated by the continued involvement of producers and service companies in the planning and execution of the research program. The plan emphasizes safety and environmental sensitivity, requiring more direct involvement and communication with the regulatory agencies and the environmental community.

“The safe and environmentally sensitive delivery of secure domestic hydrocarbon resources to the citizens of the United States is not the only outcome of the research conducted under this program,” Williams said.

The technology roadmap was developed through member and key stakeholder involvement which included surveys, focused program advisory meetings and meetings with industry leaders. RPSEA asked them to identify the technical challenges, the technology needs and the R&D needed for development. The plan also incorporates information from publications, presentations and reports from technical organizations, government, science and industry associations.

Williams said that while the U.S. is a leader in developing oil and gas—particularly the onshore unconventional shale resources—other nations are beginning to see these resources as an important component of a plan to move toward a lower-carbon, sustainable energy mix.

“While development of these resources in the U.S. directly yields thousands of high-paying domestic jobs, research efforts funded by RPSEA’s program are helping to keep U.S. companies and universities in the forefront of energy technology worldwide,” he said.

Founded in 2002, RPSEA is a non-profit, national consortium that provides focused R&D to deploy safe and environmentally sensitive technology to deliver hydrocarbons from domestic resources to U.S. citizens. Its membership consists of nine of the nation's premier research universities, five national laboratories, other major research institutions, large and small energy producers, and energy consumers.