The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to invest nearly $8 million in a research project conducted by the University of Utah into the geology of the Paradox Basin to test its oil and natural gas potential.

Paradox Basin Infrastructure

Research into the Paradox, primarily in Utah but also extending to parts of Colorado and northern Arizona, marks the DOE’s single largest investment into unconventional plays as part of a larger agency initiative consisting of multiple research projects.

The DOE’s investment adds to existing regulatory noise around the Utah oil and gas development, which has been the subject of a dispute between conservationists and the Trump administration.

The tussle started in 2017 when the White House reduced the size of national monuments within Utah by two million acres, which was...