For the past two years an extensive field-based research and development program has been ongoing in East Texas; if the results generated are to have the maximum impact on industry then the end user of these developments must be "in touch" with the program. To be exact, the Travis Peak/Hosston Formation of East Texas is being used as a laboratory for tight gas sand technology development. The Gas Research Institute's (GRI) Tight Gas Sands Program is able to bring such a diverse, but complementary range of research to the field thanks to the cooperation of numerous East Texas operators. The objective is to develop the information, tools and diagnostic capability needed to increase the recovery effectiveness and reduce the costs of gas from tight sand reservoirs. This paper will serve as an introduction to GRT and to the East Texas-based field activities of the Tight Gas Sands Program, as well as extending an invitation to East Texas operators and service companies to take advantage of the research activities through direct participation.
GRI is a not-for-profit scientific research organization that plans, manages, and finances cooperative R and D program in gaseous fuels and facilities the application of the resulting and technologies. The 1986 program as approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), includes a total obligations budget of approximately S164 million, of which $137.8 million is planned for contracted experimental R and D and analytical studies in areas of mutual interest to the U.S. gas industry and present and future gas consumers. These areas include present and future gas consumers. These areas include natural gas supply; residential, commercial, and industrial end-use technologies; safety and environmental impact of gas supply, transport and use; gas transport and storage technologies; energy systems economics and energy forecasting; and basic research.
To give you a little history, GRI was formed in 1976 and began full operation in 1978 as a result of the approval by the FERC of GRI's first R and D Program and Five-Year Plan. GRI is required to annually file a detailed R and D program for the next calendar year and an updated five-year plan with the FERC for its review and approval. The FERC-approved funding mechanism provides for an R and D funding unit to be attached to the sales for resale and transportation services of CRI's 32 interstate pipeline company members, as well as to certain direct and short-term sales. The approved 1986 funding unit is 1.35 cents per thousand cubic feet. Additional payments are per thousand cubic feet. Additional payments are received on intrastate gas sales from those GRI members whose state regulatory commissions have given their approval for this support of GRT's program.
Greater assurance of an adequate, reliable, and economical supply of gaseous fuels from both near and long-term sources is an explicit objective within the GRI plan. In striving to achieve this objective, GRI has ongoing programs concentrating on tight gas sands, eastern Devonian gas shales, co-production of gas and water, and methane from coal deposits. The strategy is to focus on critical technologies in each area that are required to recover the individual resource in a cost-effective manner. GRI's general policy is to elicit coordinated funding from industry policy is to elicit coordinated funding from industry for normal drilling and production costs while funding the incremental costs associated with the R and D. However, in those instances where GRT does incur some of the drilling and production costs. GRI will seek royalties on the commercial gas sales.