Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) today introduced legislation to direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to undertake research, development, and demonstration activities to enable the safe and responsible production of America’s vast unconventional oil and gas resources. H.R. 6603, the Tapping America’s Energy Potential through Research and Development Act of 2012 (TAEP Act) would increase energy security and affordability by encouraging the prudent development of domestic energy resources.

“This is a proactive piece of legislation that encourages and expands production of our vast domestic resources to help put Americans back to work,” Chairman Hall said.  “In addition to providing hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs, safe and prudent development of these resources would redraw the global energy map, positioning the U.S. as a world leader in energy production for decades to come.”

The U.S. has become the fastest growing oil and natural gas producing area in the world, and both the International Energy Agency and Citigroup predict the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020.  Energy development has enormous positive consequences for the economy, as evidenced in North Dakota where production of unconventional oil and gas resources in the Bakken shale formation has helped the state hold the unemployment rate to just three percent, the lowest in the nation.

The TAEP Act supports research and development (R&D) activities to ensure continued development of America’s energy resources. The bill is intended to complement and build upon an existing successful DOE unconventional oil and gas R&D program, which Chairman Hall helped to create in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Specifically, the TAEP Act instructs DOE to fund:

  • Oil shale research to address scientific and technological barriers to development and minimize potential associated environmental impacts. The research activities will focus on areas such as resource characterization, modeling, minimization and re-use of water, and increased efficiency in exploration and production activities.
  • R&D activities associated with shale oil and natural gas resources. Research objectives include minimizing water use, maximizing efficiency, and improving materials and monitoring technologies. These activities are intended to guide DOE’s contribution to a forthcoming interagency shale R&D effort that has received bicameral and bipartisan support.
  • Produced water utilization R&D activities to support the recycling and reuse of produced water from oil and gas operations.