The Department of Energy (DOE) proposed a $10 million cut in
funding for natural gas research and development (R&D) as part
of a $17.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2000 that it forwarded to
Congress last week.
The department seeks $105 million for gas-related R&D, which
is about 9% less than the $115 million that was appropriated by
Congress for fiscal 1999. Funding for gas lagged behind coal R&D
($122.4 million) in Fossil Energy R&D's overall budget request
of $375 million for the next fiscal year.
But all was not bad news for gas. Recognizing that oil and gas
producers alike face "pressing problems," DOE combined R&D
activities (and funding) of petroleum and gas so that producers
could take "maximum advantage" of new technologies. DOE estimated
about $26 million of gas's R&D funding and most of petroleum's
$50 million R&D budget for FY 2000 would be spent to develop
advanced technologies to locate and produce reserves that otherwise
would be bypassed or unmarketable. In addition, it is developing an
R&D program aimed at converting large potential gas hydrate
resources (estimated at up to 200,000 Tcf) into gas reserves.
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