The US Department of Energy reports that the President’s 2005 budget includes $729 million for fossil energy programs. The lion’s share ($447 million) is allocated for coal research and $177 million for the strategic petroleum reserve.
The new energy policy promotes enhanced oil and gas recovery and improved exploration technology. However, the Administration recognizes that if the program is to produce beneficial results, it must be more tightly focused than in prior years. Consequently, Fossil Energy’s budget request of $15 million reflects a reorientation of the program toward areas where there is a clear national interest rather than solely a corporate benefit.
One example is the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) injection to enhance the recovery of oil from existing fields. According to the DOE, the private sector has not applied this technique to its fullest potential due to insufficient supplies of economical CO2.
Fossil Energy will also refocus much of the program on marginal ‘stripper’ wells and reservoirs. These aging fields account for 40 percent of US domestic production, and contain billions of barrels of oil that could be recovered with improved technology.
The budget also includes $125 million for ‘other’ program activities, including $106 million for headquarters and field office salaries.
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