now effecting the San Antonio area, several institutions are
working with industry to understand the possible benefits
of generating power through abundant gas to cut down on
diesel consumption and decrease the emissions levels for development activities in the region.
Cameron Prell, a lawyer in the Washington, DC office of
McGuireWoods LLP, said, “It appears the administration is
directing [DOE] to pursue this solicitation for a number of
reasons, including the need to help push industry to demonstrate that certain technologies are commercially viable and
capable of achieving significant reductions while still using
fossil fuels.” The addition of fossil energy research in DOE’s
solicitation could prove to be solid investments over other
technology areas such as wind, solar, and electric vehicles.
Projects deploying technologies that reduce or sequester
air pollutants or anthropogenic GHG emissions are typically
unable to obtain commercial financing due to high technology risks. Therefore, the goal of DOE’s solicitation is to foster
such technology areas, which have taken on interest from
several operators over the last year or two.
Green completion technology could also be enhanced
through this program especially in more sensitive areas such
the Monterey shale in California, Ohio’s latest developments
in the Utica, and possibly New York once the dust of moratorium settles and hydraulic fracturing becomes a regulated
Methane capture and the use of field gas has been taking
place in the US since 2011. Several operators, including Norway’s Statoil and Houston independent Apache Corp. now
power drilling fleets with natural gas. As of 2012, Apache
became the first operator to complete a well with a dedicated natural gas-powered system. To date, the margins for
these technologies have been thin due to the abundance of
diesel and relative low cost however, with air quality becoming more of an issue in many resource plays, operators are
looking for methods to reduce their footprints even further.
While the parameters of the loan guarantee from DOE are
in flux, the cutting edge of unconventional resource technology may find additional funding through this program once
it has been finalized.
*Tayvis Dunnahoe is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.
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