The Secretary of Energy, in response to provisions of Subtitle J, Sec. 999 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, must carry out a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of technologies for ultra-deepwater and onshore unconventional natural gas and other petroleum resource exploration and production, as well as addressing the technology challenges for small producers, safe operations, and environmental mitigation (including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration of carbon).
The Department's Unconventional Resources Technology Advisory Committee (URTAC) was established to advise on the development and implementation of programs related to onshore unconventional natural gas and other petroleum resources, and review and comment on the program's annual plan. The URTAC is comprised of Special Government employees, academia, environmental and industry representatives. Special Government employees are appointed by the Secretary of Energy for their expertise in a particular area and advise the Secretary with their own opinion, whereas the other members of the committee represent a point of view held by a particular group or class of stakeholders.