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US DOE, DOI and EPA partner to coordinate research on unconventional gas and oil

16 April 2012

Three US federal agencies announced a formal partnership to coordinate and align all research associated with development of unconventional natural gas and oil resources.

The new “Interagency Working Group to Support Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources” will help coordinate current and future research undertaken by the US Department of Energy (DOI), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of the Interior (DOI). A primary goal of this effort will be to identify research topics where collaboration among the three agencies can provide results that support sound policy decisions while promoting safe practices and human health.

Tapping into unconventional oil and gas resources already allowed to increase domestic production in the United States. Technological advancements such as hydraulic fracturing—innovation supported by public research—have allowed development of previously uneconomic natural gas and oil deposits. Since 2008, US oil and natural gas production has increased each year.

In 2011, US crude oil production reached its highest level in 8 years, increasing by an estimated 110,000 barrels per day over 2010 levels to 5.59 million bpd. US natural gas production grew in 2011 as well—the largest year-over-year volumetric increase in history—eclipsing the previous all-time production record set in 1973. Overall, oil imports have been falling since 2005, and oil import dependence declined from 57% in 2008 to 45% in 2011—the lowest level since 1995.

Source: US DOE