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Federal Spending Cuts Test Appetite for Exploration and Production Research

Topics: R&D

Last year, lawmakers in the United States sent a blunt message to the oil business: If it wants new exploration and production technology, it will need to pick up more of the cost. Specifically, federal budget cuts eliminated further funding for the technology development organization known as RPSEA (Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America).

While outside observers have talked about the end of RPSEA, those inside have been seeking new sources of support. “You might consider it a turnaround situation,” said James Pappas, president of RPSEA. “We are continuing to manage current projects. As we are closing the books on those, we have a couple of different avenues” to replace them.

The effect of the federal cutoff will not be immediate. The last payment to RPSEA was USD 3.8 million covering administrative costs through 30 September 2014. Another federal agency, though, will pay it to manage the technical aspects of projects already under way over the next 2 years.

In July, the small RPSEA staff was busy winning US Department of Energy approval for the last 19 contracts to do research and development (R&D) work valued at USD 32.7 million: USD 18.5 million in federal funding and USD 14.2 million in corporate matching money. That will give it nearly 79 projects to manage, but the total dwindles rather quickly and runs out at the close of 2016.

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Federal Spending Cuts Test Appetite for Exploration and Production Research

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 September 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 9

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