Providing technical aid to small producers in America's oil fields
Two new projects selected for grants in DOE's 'Technology Development with Independents' program
Tulsa, OK - With America's oil production increasingly being supplied
by small independent producers, the U.S. Department of Energy is
continuing its efforts to help the smallest of these companies test
higher-risk technologies that could keep oil flowing from thousands of
As part of its Fossil Energy research program, the Department has
added two new projects to its "Technology Development with
Woolsey Petroleum Corporation,
Wichita, KS, to study ways to
improve "hydraulic fracturing," a technique in which water is
injected into an oil-bearing formation to open fractures in the
underground rock and free oil that might otherwise not be
Tenneco Energy LLC, Wheat Ridge, CO, to help restore
production in East Texas oil fields by using advanced computer
imaging technology, new logging tools to locate promising
geologic features, and high capacity pumps.
The "Technology Development with Independents Program" provides
matching grants of up to $75,000 to companies willing to apply
innovative approaches that can lower operating costs and extend the
life of marginally producing fields.
The program reflects the growing importance of small oil producers in
supplying America's demand for oil. The domestic oil industry has
changed significantly over the last 15 years, with larger oil companies
moving to more lucrative prospects overseas leaving behind smaller
companies to continue producing aging and often declining U.S. oil
fields. Independent producers now account for 40 percent of the oil
produced in the United States and nearly 60 percent of the oil
produced from onshore fields in the lower 48 states.
Since 1999, the "Technology Development with Independents
Program" has provided small businesses in 13 states, each with less
than 50 employees, the financial backing to test new techniques that
might otherwise have remain untried.
The program is one of several initiatives in the Energy Department's
fossil energy program that is working to slow or halt the decline in U.S.
oil production. The types of technologies considered included reservoir
characterization, well drilling, completion or stimulation, environmental
compliance, artificial lift, well remediation, secondary or tertiary oil
recovery, and production management.
Companies that achieve success in prolonging the productive life of
their fields convey the techniques to other small producers facing
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.