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Predicting, preparing and preventing costs, risks, inefficiencies, and safety concerns with offshore systems since 2005.

Increasingly, offshore domestic oil and natural gas activities are associated with remote and challenging regions, such as the ultra-deepwater (greater than 5,000 feet) Gulf of Mexico and the offshore Arctic. Development in these areas poses unique technical and operational challenges, as well as distinct environmental and societal concerns. Domestic resources of natural gas and oil will continue to play an increasingly critical role in meeting U.S. energy needs, provided they can be produced with the confidence that environmental and economic risk is reduced. The science base necessary to support stakeholder decisions stems from the ability to understand the behavior of engineered-natural systems over a range of often offshore conditions.

NETL has extensive expertise in characterizing engineered natural systems associated with oil and natural gas development. This expertise is being leveraged for offshore energy research through NETL’s in house research program.  NETL’s Offshore Research portfolio aligns with key Federal-scale initiatives including the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee (OESC), chartered February 8, 2011, to advise the Secretary of the Interior, on a variety of issues related to offshore energy safety. In particular, the findings and recommendations of the OESC’s Spill Prevention Subcommittee, a multi-entity committee that seeks to address safety and potential impacts of deep offshore hydrocarbon development in the U.S. and adjoining regions, are addressed by aspects of the Complementary Program research. NETL’s Offshore Research portfolio is also aligned with some of the goals of the White House’s National Strategy for the Arctic Region and the White House’s National Ocean Implementation Plan.

Research conducted through Phase 1 of NETL’s Offshore Research Portfolio was conducted from 2005 – 2014 and focused on developing a scientific base for reducing and quantifying potential risks associated with exploration and production in offshore environments. The research was performed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005’s Section 999, and subsequently from 2014-2016 as part of DOE Fossil Energy’s Unconventional Resources research. The outcomes of these projects provided better tools, data, models, and analyses for offshore stakeholders to better predict, prepare and prevent costs, risks, inefficiencies, and safety concerns with offshore systems.

Phase 2 of NETL’s Offshore Research portfolio began in 2017 and expands on research previously conducted by NETL in Phase 1 of this program by targeting key knowledge gaps related to drilling in extreme offshore conditions. Research is focused on improving the ability to predict geologic hazards by identifying subsurface issues early with greater accuracy and faster response time; preventing offshore incidents by managing and minimizing risks associated with drilling and production operations, aging infrastructure, and infrastructure reuse; and minimizing drilling risks to prevent catastrophic offshore incidents and loss of life.

Ultimately, NETL Offshore Research Portfolio projects will develop technologies and information to be released to the public domain that can be used to assess and mitigate risks and costs associated with offshore oil spills prior to and during drilling and production operations. The technologies and advances made will prevent and reduce the impacts from deleterious events associated with offshore hydrocarbon drilling and production, while optimizing and improving the economic potential of domestic offshore hydrocarbon resources.

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NETL’s Oil & Gas Division coordinates and implements hydrocarbon related R&D in support of safe, reliable, and enduring access to domestic gas and oil.

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America is a non-profit corporation established to help meet the nation’s growing need for hydrocarbon resources produced from reservoirs in America.

Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee was chartered on February 8, 2011, to advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, on a variety of issues related to offshore energy safety.

Alaska Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development & Permitting was established to coordinate the efforts of Federal agencies associated with onshore and offshore energy in Alaska.

Memorandum of Collaboration between the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy.

National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon report and findings

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was enacted to ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and reliable energy.

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