AUSTIN, Texas — Geologic studies of natural gas reservoirs in Texas conducted by The University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology between 1988 to 1995 have been singled out as an example of a “government-industry success story” by the White House. The designation was included in the final report submitted to President Clinton by the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
This Secondary Gas Recovery (SGR) Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Gas Research Institute (GRI), the state of Texas and private industry, was designed to improve natural gas recovery from geologically complex reservoirs.
In a 1988 landmark study, the DOE found natural gas resources to be more than three times the then-prevailing federal estimate for U.S. onshore and state waters. In response to this finding, the Bureau launched its program of applied research and technology transfer, first in the onshore Texas Gulf Coast Basin and then in the Fort Worth Basin. Bureau Director Dr. Noel Tyler noted, “The completed SGR work accomplished a critical awakening of the natural gas industry to the untapped potential of its old onshore gas fields.”
The SGR Project brought the concept of gas reserve growth to geologic audiences across Texas and the nation in 14 short courses and workshops and more than 90 technical publications. More than 3,000 printed technical summaries on various aspects of the project were produced and distributed. Notably, the project became the only source worldwide of low-cost, publicly available 3-D seismic data sets, supported by well log and production data. Natural gas producers integrated SGR strategies into their daily work, as documented through surveys of thousands of producers.
Results of the SGR Project exceeded expectations and are now measurable in the Texas Gulf Coast. In 1993¬1994, gas reserves that were added in the Texas Gulf Coast production districts targeted by SGR increased by 30 percent per development-well completion compared with a 1990¬1992 baseline period. And in 1997, independent producers in the Fort Worth Basin are completing wells at a vastly improved flow rate of more than two million cubic feet of gas per day at two-thirds of the original reservoir pressure in a field that was discovered more than half a century ago.In summarizing the continuing benefits of the SGR Project, Tyler said, ¯The recognition of reserve growth potential has spurred the Texas oil and gas industry to new and invigorated activity. Through this model private-public partnership and the foresight of DOE, GRI, our industry partners, and the State of Texas, we are now realizing tangible assets in terms of energy security and environmental benefits as a result of the SGR Project.”President Clinton established the PCAST to provide guidance for federal energy research and actively advise the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) about science and technology issues of national importance. The PCAST serves as the highest level private-sector science-and-technology advisory group for the President and the NSTC. The report, Federal Energy Research and Development for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century, was issued by the White House on Nov. 5 and presents a definitive strategy on how to ensure that the United States has a program in place that addresses the countryÌs energy and environmental needs for the next century.