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Enabling Technologies

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Data Link assembly which collects data from the rotating pipe during drilling operations
Data Link assembly used to collect data from the rotating pipe during drilling operations

While advances in technology associated with hydraulic fracture operations have helped to dramatically increase development of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) resources over the last decade, and while UOG is expected to continue to play a vital role in U.S. energy security and independence through 2050, much has yet to be learned about the basic physical structure and behavior of UOG resources. To support cost-effective production of unconventional reservoirs, further technology development is needed to optimize a variety of exploration and production operations in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. The DOE and NETL play an important role in developing these technologies.

DOE and NETL support these efforts through R&D projects, in partnership with academia, industry, technology developers, and other national laboratories. These projects aim to develop safe, reliable, cost-effective solutions for characterizing the subsurface, monitoring well integrity, treating produced water, improving economic viability of hydrocarbon resources, and increasing the recovery efficiency of conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas production.

Specific project goals include:

  • Innovative and breakthrough technologies for improved subsurface characterization, visualization, and diagnostics.
  • Cost-effective tools for real-time monitoring of well performance data not routinely collected (e.g. downhole pressure, geochemistry, etc.) that would fill critical data gaps in data analytics and machine learning applications to inform decision making and improve the ultimate recovery of UOG.
  • New resource development approaches that can enable or accelerate dramatic improvements in drainage volume, per well resource recovery efficiency, or ultimate field resource recovery. 
  • Development of novel processes for the treatment and beneficial re-use of waters produced during hydrocarbon extraction.

View Project Information

Produced Water R&D