INTRODUCTION

The present program on oil, gas, and shale technology of the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) was transferred from the Bureau of Mines (BM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior when ERDA was created January 19, 1976. For many years the BM had carried on research and development with a moderate in-house program at Energy Research Centers (ERC' s ) at Morgantown, West Virginia; Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Laramie, Wyoming; and San Francisco, California. In FY 1974 a moderate increase in funding in the oil and gas area permitted beginning entering into R&D cost-sharing contracts with industry for enhanced oil and gas recovery.

The Division of Oil , Gas, and Shale Technology ( Figure 1) is one of the program divisions under D r . Philip C. White, Assistant Administrator for Fossil Energy. The program is carried out under the Acting Division Director; the Acting Deputy Director, Dr. H. Neal Dunning; the Acting Assistant Director for Oil and Gas, Dr . Jerry D. Ham; and the Acting Assistant Director for In Situ Technology, Mr. Lawrence M. Burman.

The objective of the program is to maximize the efficiency of production and utilization of domestic deposits of natural gas, petroleum, heavy oils, oil shale, and tar sands. The program is implemented by fostering the provision of fuels at the lowest cost and minimum adverse effect on the environment and the ecology.

An overriding consideration is t o effect rapid transfer of the technology derived through annual symposia, quarterly progress reports that receive wide distribution, technical presentations and publications, and open files.

Resource targets for petroleum and natural gas are some 290 billion barrels of normal-gravity crude oil; 107 billion barrels of heavy oil (less that 25O API gravity), from which there now is minimal production; at least 30 billion barrels of bitumen in tar-sand deposits, mostly in the State of Utah; at least 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in deep, thick, low-permeability formations in Rocky Mountain basins; and an unquantified but significant amount of natural gas in eastern shales and coal seams.

The cost-sharing goal is at least 50 percent financing by industry. To date, this has exceeded 50 percent. Projections are that the impact of the program on the industry's efforts could by 1985, add to proved reserves 2 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and result in incremental daily production increases of 500 thousand barrels of oil and 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas. To put this in perspective, the proved reserves at the end of 1974 were 34.2 billion barrels of crude oil and 237.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, including some 9.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas on the Alaskan North Slope, for which there now is no means of transport to market.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.