National Energy Technology Laboratory
The Only U.S. National Laboratory Devoted to Fossil Energy Technology

The Deep Trek Program
The Deep Trek Program is implemented by the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The Program incorporates three phases:  (1) feasibility and concept definition, (2) prototype development or research, development and testing, and (3) field/system demonstration and commercialization.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of the DOE/NETL Deep Trek Program is to develop technologies that lower the cost and improve the efficiency of drilling and completing deep wells. New tools and technologies that help operators safely drill faster, deeper, cheaper, and cleaner will help ensure an adequate supply clean-burning natural gas for the nation.

DOE/NETL has incorporated input from industry experts to help focus the research and development objectives of the Deep Trek program. The primary objectives are to increase deep drilling penetration rates and decrease deep drilling and completion costs. Safely increasing the overall rate of penetration during deep drilling is a primary objective of the Deep Trek Program because drilling faster directly reduces rig time. In addition, fewer bits are required to reach the target, meaning fewer trips are required and, because many problems are associated with trips, fewer time-consuming problems need to be solved.

These objectives are to be met through projects that will help develop technologies in four key areas:
  • Smart drilling systems that employ advanced sensors and monitoring systems,
  • Low-friction, wear-resistant materials that can extend the life of drillstring components,
  • Advanced approaches to drilling and completing deep wells, and
  • New drill bit technologies.