[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 46 (Wednesday, March 10, 2010)]
[Pages 11147-11148]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-5083]



Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other 
Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program 2010 Annual Plan

AGENCY: Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy.

ACTION: Notice of report availability.


SUMMARY: The Office of Fossil Energy announces the availability of the 
2010 Annual Plan for the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas 
and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program on the 
DOE Web site at http://management.energy.gov/FOIA/1480.htm or in print 
form (see ``Contact'' below).
    The 2010 Annual Plan is in compliance with the Energy Policy Act of 
2005, Subtitle J, Section 999B(e)(3) which requires the publication of 
this plan and all written comments in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elena Melchert, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Office of Oil and Natural Gas, Mail Stop FE-30, 1000 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585 or phone: 202-586-5600 
or e-mail to [email protected].


Executive Summary [Excerpted From the 2010 Annual Plan p. 3]

    This document is the 2010 Annual Plan for the Ultra-Deepwater and 
Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and 
Development Program established pursuant to Title IX, Subtitle J 
(Subtitle J) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). Subtitle J is 
reproduced in Appendix A.
    As required by Subtitle J, the Department of Energy (DOE) 
contracted with a consortium (Program Consortium) to administer three 
program elements identified in EPAct: ultra-deepwater architecture and 
technology, unconventional natural gas and other petroleum resources 
exploration and production technology, and technology challenges of 
small producers. A fourth program element of complementary research 
identified in EPAct is being conducted by the National Energy 
Technology Laboratory (NETL). NETL is also responsible for review and 
oversight of the Program Consortium.
    In 2006, NETL awarded a contract to the Research Partnership to 
Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) to function as the Program 
    The 2007 Annual Plan, the first annual plan, resulted in a total of 
15 solicitations from which 43 projects were selected. The 2008 Annual 
Plan resulted in the selection of 29 projects. Implementation of the 
2009 Annual Plan includes 7 solicitations issued by the Program 
Consortium in October 2009, with selections anticipated in early 2010.
    As further required by Subtitle J, in September 2009, two Federal 
advisory committees, the Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee and the 
Unconventional Resources Technology Advisory Committee, began their 
respective reviews of the draft 2010 Annual Plan. In October 2009, the 
two advisory committees provided their recommendations.
    Section 999B(e)(3) of EPAct requires DOE to publish all written 
comments received regarding the annual plan. Accordingly, the Program 
Consortium's 2010 draft Annual Plan is included here as Appendix B, and 
the comments and recommendations provided by the two Federal advisory 
committees are included here as Appendix C. No other written comments 
were received.
    The 2010 Annual Plan provides a comprehensive outline of the 
research activities planned for 2010. The primary focus of these 
activities is to fill in any technology gaps not adequately addressed 
by the projects and solicitations to date. A highlight of 2010 Annual 
Plan is the attention that is being given to technology transfer.
    Technology transfer is important to the success of this research 
program. Subtitle J requires 2.5% of the amount of each award to be 
designated for technology transfer activities. The Federal advisory 
committees have recommended that more information on

[[Page 11148]]

technology transfer be included in future annual plans. In response, 
the 2010 Annual Plan describes the structure for the overall technology 
transfer program.
    Subtitle J provides that the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional 
Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Research Fund be funded at $50-million-
per-year, with funds generated from Federal lease royalties, rents, and 
bonuses paid by oil and gas companies. Seventy-five percent of these 
funds are obligated to the Program Consortium's contract to execute the 
three program elements. After allocations for contract management by 
NETL and program administration by the Program Consortium, the amount 
to be invested in research activities by the Program Consortium totals 
$31.88 million per year.
    Under the Stage-Gate approach applied to prior years' activities, 
all Program Consortium administered projects are fully funded to the 
completion of the appropriate decision point identified in each 
contract, which may include multiple stages. If a decision is made to 
move to the next stage or decision point or to gather additional data, 
additional funding will be provided from available funds.
    The NETL Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil is responsible 
for management of the consortium's contract as part of its review and 
oversight function. Complementary research and development (R&D) is 
being carried out by NETL's Office of Research and Development. 
Planning and analysis related to the Program, including benefits 
assessment and technology impacts analysis, is being carried out by 
NETL's Office of Systems, Analysis, and Planning.
    Subtitle J contains a general sunset provision for Title IX, 
Subtitle J, of September 30, 2014.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 22, 2010.
Christopher A. Smith,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Oil and Natural Gas, Office of 
Fossil Energy.
[FR Doc. 2010-5083 Filed 3-9-10; 8:45 am]