Fossil Energy’s Office of Oil and Natural Gas works to maximize the value of U.S. oil and gas resources to the public and ensure responsible development and delivery through policy, research, innovation, and outreach.


Oil and Gas Research and Development

Division of Upstream Research. The Office of Oil and Natural Gas’ Division of Upstream Research promotes safety and environmental sustainability of oil and gas exploration and production. The Division provides early-stage research in upstream onshore and offshore..

Upstream: Onshore - Technological advances, many of which were supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), enabled the widespread production of natural gas and oil contained in shale formations, and have made the United States the world’s largest producer of both crude oil and natural gas. Today, DOE’s onshore research portfolio focuses on developing basin-specific technologies to maximize resource recovery and prudent environmental stewardship, accelerating the potential of emerging and untapped oil and gas resources, and treatment of produced water for reuse. 

Upstream: Offshore - DOE’s Offshore Research is focused on increasing ultimate recovery of oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf while preventing oil spills through maintaining well control throughout the lifetime of the well. The research portfolio is comprised of a suite of projects that focuses on innovative solutions to solve the challenges associated with deepwater geohazard prediction, well control during drilling and over the lifetime of the well, surface systems and umbilicals including met-ocean effects, and subsea systems reliability and automation. 

Division of Supply & Delivery. The Office of Oil and Natural Gas’ Division of Supply and Delivery identifies and operates in areas where there is an appropriate government role for the development of technologies that can increase energy and economic security. The Division provides early-stage research in natural gas infrastructure, gas hydrates and DOE research studies.

Natural Gas Technologies R&D -The Natural Gas Technologies (NGT) R&D program is aligned with the President’s objectives to strengthen natural gas pipeline reliability and ensure infrastructure security, and research advanced materials and sensor technology to address natural gas infrastructure reliability, public safety, and operational efficiency.

Gas Hydrate R&D. –  The most plentiful supplies of natural gas throughout the world may be the methane molecules trapped in ice-like structures called hydrates. DOE's research is helping to unlock the mysteries of gas hydrates and develop future ways to tap their massive energy potential through early-stage research, to evaluate the occurrence, nature, and behavior of the potentially enormous naturally-occurring gas hydrates resource within the U.S. 

DOE Research Studies - DOE research studies are directed by either the Secretary of Energy or by Congress and cover a variety of areas: Crude Oil Characterization Research Study; Used Oil Management and Beneficial Reuse Options; Natural Gas Flaring and Venting: State and Federal Regulatory Overview, Trends, and Impacts; and Hydrogen Strategy: Enabling a Low-Carbon Economy.

Natural Gas/LNG Regulatory Activities

Natural Gas Regulation - The Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) Office of Regulation, Analysis and Engagement regulates natural gas imports and exports under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act of 1938; maintains statistics on North American natural gas trade; and oversees FE's international programs pertaining to natural gas and petroleum.  

Understanding LNG – The United States has become one of the world’s top exporters of liquefied natural gas, or LNG. LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state for shipping in containers and special tankers to places pipelines do not reach. 

Engagement with International Partners

Fossil Energy’s Oil and Natural Gas Office actively participates in several global partnerships and initiatives:

U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum:  The Office of Fossil Energy and China’s National Energy Administration have held the annual U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum since 1998. The Forum is a public-private partnership involving government and industry representatives from the United States and China and focuses on the development of secure, reliable, and economic sources of oil and natural gas while facilitating investment in the energy industry.   

U.S.-India Gas Task Force (GTF):  The Office of Fossil Energy and India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are the lead government agencies for the U.S.-India Gas Task Force (GTF), an industry-focused forum that identifies innovative policy reforms to support India’s ambitions to transition to a natural gas economy, as well as lower market barriers in India for U.S. natural gas and related technologies. The GTF is an initiative under the U.S-India Strategic Energy Partnership launched in April 2018. 

Engagement to Promote Natural Gas Development in Africa: The Office of Fossil Energy works with DOE's International Affairs Office (IA), other U.S. government agencies, and stakeholders to promote gas development in Africa to ensure global energy security and open new energy markets. The focus is on capacity building in this sector for decision-makers, potential businesses, and the facilitation of LNG development.  

Understanding Natural Gas & LNG Options Handbook This comprehensive handbook serves a resource for African countries that are developing, or considering developing, natural gas and associated industries. It was prepared by the Office of Fossil Energy and IA with assistance from the U.S. Energy Association and funding from USAID/Power Africa. 

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