DOE funds nine shale gas, coalbed methane technology efforts

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory is supporting nine projects targeting environmental tools and technology for shale gas and coalbed methane production, DOE’s Fossil Energy Office announced.

It said that the NETL projects’ goals are to improve management of water resources, usage, and disposal; and to support science which will help the shale gas development regulatory and permitting process. DOE’s share of the projects’ total $10.2 million cost will be $6.9 million, it indicated.

ALL Consulting of Tulsa will receive $776,574 to go with $334,496 it is providing for a 36-month project to help operators and regulators plan all aspects of water management associated with shale gas development, the DOE office said.

It said that General Electrical Co. of Niskayuna, NY, will receive $799,897 to use with $199,976 of its money for an 18-month project to develop a low-cost mobile process to treat total dissolved solids in hydraulic fracturing operations’ flowback water.

A 32-month project at the University of West Virginia in Morgantown, which includes development of a pretreatment filter and associated elements for handling frac water returns from Marcellus Shale wells is scheduled to receive $609,619 from DOE to go with the $390,381 it has already, according to the Fossil Energy Office.

It said that the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is scheduled to receive $637,467 to use with $179,517 which it has budgeted already for a 24-month project which would be used in the Fayetteville shale region. It said that the strategy is to develop a water management decision support system by modifying and integrating a state-of-the-art water resource simulation model with a modern enterprise geographic information system (GIS).

More projects

The Ground Water Protection Research Foundation in Oklahoma City is due to receive $845,923 to go with $211,474 which it has budgeted to develop a new hydraulic fracturing module as an add-on for regulators and operators to use with GWPRF’s risk-based data management system, the DOE office continued.

It said that it plans to supply $725,647 for the Alabama Geological Survey to use with $314,316 it has budgeted already for a 36-month study aimed at developing a large, high-quality database and GIS to provide a basis for more efficient development of CBM reservoirs and identification of produced water in the Black Warrior Basin.

The Fossil Energy Office said that Altela Inc. of Albuquerque is scheduled to receive $886,025 for use with $912,316 of its own money for an 18-month demonstration of its AltelaRain technology to treat Marcellus Shale produced and flowback water under state and federal regulations.

It said that it will provide $794,225 for the University of Pittsburgh to use with $269,011 of the school’s money for a 36-month evaluation of the potential for combining and treating two waste streams (flowback water and acid mine drainage) for re-use as a fracturing fluid. Some of the money also will be used to develop novel viscosity modifiers for water high in total dissolved solids, the DOE office said.

It said that the ninth project it is supporting will be a 24-month effort at the Texas Engineering Experiment Station at College Station to identify an efficient and cost-effective pretreatment method of treating and re-using field-produced brine and fracture flowback waters. DOE said that its share of the cost will be $844,216 while the recipient will provide $450,000.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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