[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 16 (Tuesday, January 27, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4743-4744]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-1689]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other 
Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program 2009 Annual Plan

AGENCY: Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Notice of Report Availability.

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SUMMARY:  The Office of Fossil Energy announces the availability of the 
2009 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 2009 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 UltraDeepwater@hq.doe.gov.

[[Page 4744]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary [excerpted from the 2009 
Annual Plan p. 3].
    This document is the 2009 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 to the 2009 Annual Plan.
    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 performed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory 
(NETL). NETL is also tasked with management of the consortium contract, 
and 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 
Consortium.
    The 2007 Annual Plan, the first annual plan, resulted in a total of 
15 solicitations from which 43 projects were selected.
    In August 2008, the 2008 Annual Plan was transmitted to Congress 
and published in the Federal Register. Implementation will include a 
total of 13 solicitations that are expected to be issued by the Program 
Consortium in late fall/early winter 2008, with selections anticipated 
in early 2009.
    As further required by Subtitle J, in September 2008, two Federal 
advisory committees, the Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee and the 
Unconventional Resources Technology Advisory Committee, began their 
respective reviews of the draft 2009 Annual Plan. In October 2008, the 
two advisory committees provided their recommendations.
    Section 999B(e)(3) of EPAct requires DOE to publish all written 
comments on the annual plan. Accordingly, the Program Consortium's 
final 2009 draft Annual Plan is included here as Appendix B and the 
comments and recommendations provided by the advisory committees are 
included here as Appendix C. No other written comments were received.
    The 2009 Annual Plan provides a comprehensive outline of the 
Program Consortium's research activities planned for 2009. The primary 
focus of these activities is to fill in any technology gaps not 
addressed by the projects and solicitations to date. A highlight of 
this year's plan is the attention that will be given to technology 
transfer.
    Technology transfer is an important focus of the program. Section 
999C(d) of EPAct requires 2.5% of the amount of each award to be 
designated for technology transfer activities. The Federal advisory 
committees recommended that more information on technology transfer be 
included in future annual plans. In response, the 2009 Annual Plan 
includes the structure for the overall technology transfer program.
    Section 999 H(a) of EPAct 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 three program elements. After allocations for 
program 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 year activities, all 
Program Consortium administered projects will be 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 contract, and review and oversight of 
the Program Consortium. Complementary 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.
    Section 999F of EPAct contains a general sunset provision for Title 
IX, Subtitle J, of September 30, 2014.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2009.
Guido DeHoratiis,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Oil and Natural Gas, 
Office of Fossil Energy.
[FR Doc. E9-1689 Filed 1-26-09; 8:45 am]
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