42 U.S. Code § 16372 - Ultra-deepwater and unconventional onshore natural gas and other petroleum research and development program

(a) In general
The Secretary shall carry out the activities under section 16371 of this title, to maximize the value of natural gas and other petroleum resources of the United States, by increasing the supply of such resources, through reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of exploration for and production of such resources, while improving safety and minimizing environmental impacts.
(b) Role of the Secretary
The Secretary shall have ultimate responsibility for, and oversight of, all aspects of the program under this section.
(c) Role of the program consortium
(1) In general
The Secretary shall contract with a corporation that is structured as a consortium to administer the programmatic activities outlined in this part. [1] The program consortium shall—
(A) administer the program pursuant to subsection (f)(3), utilizing program administration funds only;
(B) issue research project solicitations upon approval of the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee;
(C) make project awards to research performers upon approval of the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee;
(D) disburse research funds to research performers awarded under subsection (f) as directed by the Secretary in accordance with the annual plan under subsection (e); and
(E) carry out other activities assigned to the program consortium by this section.
(2) Limitation
The Secretary may not assign any activities to the program consortium except as specifically authorized under this section.
(3) Conflict of interest
(A) Procedures
The Secretary shall establish procedures—
(i) to ensure that each board member, officer, or employee of the program consortium who is in a decisionmaking capacity under subsection (f)(3) shall disclose to the Secretary any financial interests in, or financial relationships with, applicants for or recipients of awards under this section, including those of his or her spouse or minor child, unless such relationships or interests would be considered to be remote or inconsequential; and
(ii) to require any board member, officer, or employee with a financial relationship or interest disclosed under clause (i) to recuse himself or herself from any oversight under subsection (f)(4) with respect to such applicant or recipient.
(B) Failure to comply
The Secretary may disqualify an application or revoke an award under this section if a board member, officer, or employee has failed to comply with procedures required under subparagraph (A)(ii).
(d) Selection of the program consortium
(1) In general
The Secretary shall select the program consortium through an open, competitive process.
(2) Members
The program consortium may include corporations, trade associations, institutions of higher education, National Laboratories, or other research institutions. After submitting a proposal under paragraph (4), the program consortium may not add members without the consent of the Secretary.
(3) Requirement of section 501(c)(3) status
The Secretary shall not select a consortium under this section unless such consortium is an organization described in section 501 (c)(3) of title 26 and exempt from tax under such section 501(a) of such title.
(4) Schedule
Not later than 90 days after August 8, 2005, the Secretary shall solicit proposals from eligible consortia to perform the duties in subsection (c)(1), which shall be submitted not later than 180 days after August 8, 2005. The Secretary shall select the program consortium not later than 270 days after August 8, 2005.
(5) Application
Applicants shall submit a proposal including such information as the Secretary may require. At a minimum, each proposal shall—
(A) list all members of the consortium;
(B) fully describe the structure of the consortium, including any provisions relating to intellectual property; and
(C) describe how the applicant would carry out the activities of the program consortium under this section.
(6) Eligibility
To be eligible to be selected as the program consortium, an applicant must be an entity whose members have collectively demonstrated capabilities and experience in planning and managing research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs for ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas or other petroleum exploration or production.
(7) Focus areas for awards
(A) Ultra-deepwater resources
Awards from allocations under section 16378 (d)(1) of this title shall focus on the development and demonstration of individual exploration and production technologies as well as integrated systems technologies including new architectures for production in ultra-deepwater.
(B) Unconventional resources
Awards from allocations under section 16378 (d)(2) of this title shall focus on areas including advanced coalbed methane, deep drilling, natural gas production from tight sands, natural gas production from gas shales, stranded gas, innovative exploration and production techniques, enhanced recovery techniques, and environmental mitigation of unconventional natural gas and other petroleum resources exploration and production.
(C) Small producers
Awards from allocations under section 16378 (d)(3) of this title shall be made to consortia consisting of small producers or organized primarily for the benefit of small producers, and shall focus on areas including complex geology involving rapid changes in the type and quality of the oil and gas reservoirs across the reservoir; low reservoir pressure; unconventional natural gas reservoirs in coalbeds, deep reservoirs, tight sands, or shales; and unconventional oil reservoirs in tar sands and oil shales.
(e) Annual plan
(1) In general
The program under this section shall be carried out pursuant to an annual plan prepared by the Secretary in accordance with paragraph (2).
(2) Development
(A) Solicitation of recommendations
Before drafting an annual plan under this subsection, the Secretary shall solicit specific written recommendations from the program consortium for each element to be addressed in the plan, including those described in paragraph (4). The program consortium shall submit its recommendations in the form of a draft annual plan.
(B) Submission of recommendations; other comment
The Secretary shall submit the recommendations of the program consortium under subparagraph (A) to the Ultra-Deepwater Advisory Committee established under section 16374 (a) of this title and to the Unconventional Resources Technology Advisory Committee established under section 16374 (b) of this title, and such Advisory Committees shall provide to the Secretary written comments by a date determined by the Secretary. The Secretary may also solicit comments from any other experts.
(C) Consultation
The Secretary shall consult regularly with the program consortium throughout the preparation of the annual plan.
(3) Publication
The Secretary shall transmit to Congress and publish in the Federal Register the annual plan, along with any written comments received under paragraph (2)(A) and (B).
(4) Contents
The annual plan shall describe the ongoing and prospective activities of the program under this section and shall include—
(A) a list of any solicitations for awards to carry out research, development, demonstration, or commercial application activities, including the topics for such work, who would be eligible to apply, selection criteria, and the duration of awards; and
(B) a description of the activities expected of the program consortium to carry out subsection (f)(3).
(5) Estimates of increased royalty receipts
The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, shall provide an annual report to Congress with the President’s budget on the estimated cumulative increase in Federal royalty receipts (if any) resulting from the implementation of this part. The initial report under this paragraph shall be submitted in the first President’s budget following the completion of the first annual plan required under this subsection.
(f) Awards
(1) In general
Upon approval of the Secretary the program consortium shall make awards to research performers to carry out research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities under the program under this section. The program consortium shall not be eligible to receive such awards, but provided that conflict of interest procedures in subsection (c)(3) are followed, entities who are members of the program consortium are not precluded from receiving research awards as either individual research performers or as research performers who are members of a research collaboration.
(2) Proposals
Upon approval of the Secretary the program consortium shall solicit proposals for awards under this subsection in such manner and at such time as the Secretary may prescribe, in consultation with the program consortium.
(3) Oversight
(A) In general
The program consortium shall oversee the implementation of awards under this subsection, consistent with the annual plan under subsection (e), including disbursing funds and monitoring activities carried out under such awards for compliance with the terms and conditions of the awards.
(B) Effect
Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall limit the authority or responsibility of the Secretary to oversee awards, or limit the authority of the Secretary to review or revoke awards.
(g) Administrative costs
(1) In general
To compensate the program consortium for carrying out its activities under this section, the Secretary shall provide to the program consortium funds sufficient to administer the program. This compensation may include a management fee consistent with Department of Energy contracting practices and procedures.
(2) Advance
The Secretary shall advance funds to the program consortium upon selection of the consortium, which shall be deducted from amounts to be provided under paragraph (1).
(h) Audit
The Secretary shall retain an independent auditor, which shall include a review by the General Accountability Office, to determine the extent to which funds provided to the program consortium, and funds provided under awards made under subsection (f), have been expended in a manner consistent with the purposes and requirements of this part. The auditor shall transmit a report (including any review by the General Accountability Office) annually to the Secretary, who shall transmit the report to Congress, along with a plan to remedy any deficiencies cited in the report.
(i) Activities by the United States Geological Survey
The Secretary of the Interior, through the United States Geological Survey, shall, where appropriate, carry out programs of long-term research to complement the programs under this section.
(j) Program review and oversight
The National Energy Technology Laboratory, on behalf of the Secretary, shall
(1) issue a competitive solicitation for the program consortium,
(2) evaluate, select, and award a contract or other agreement to a qualified program consortium, and
(3) have primary review and oversight responsibility for the program consortium, including review and approval of research awards proposed to be made by the program consortium, to ensure that its activities are consistent with the purposes and requirements described in this part. Up to 5 percent of program funds allocated under paragraphs (1) through (3) of section 16378 (d) of this title may be used for this purpose, including program direction and the establishment of a site office if determined to be necessary to carry out the purposes of this subsection.


[1]  See References in Text note below.

Source

(Pub. L. 109–58, title IX, § 999B,Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 917.)
References in Text

This part, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), was in the original “this chapter”, and was translated as meaning “this subtitle”, which is subtitle J (§§ 999A to 999H) of title IX of Pub. L. 109–58, Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 916, which enacted this part, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

 

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