Most of the research sponsored by the DOE in the last decade was spawned by an extensive survey of individuals in all industries involved in deep water exploration and production. (See Reports section – Offshore Technology Roadmap for the Ultra Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, 2000).  Since 2007, all DOE sponsored research is managed through RPSEA (see next section)

DOE directly funded research included:

Ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico Field Development Enabling Technologies and Demonstrations , DE-FC26-00NT40964,  September 5,2005

The purpose of this project is to develop and demonstrate three enabling technologies that will help to reduce the field size required for economic development in ultra-deep water.  The three technologies include subsea processing, composite production risers, and the application of a “casing drilling” approach to deepwater subsea wells using a Close Tolerance Liner Drilling (CTLD) system.

Well Integrity Assurance for Subsalt, Near-Salt Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Reservoirs, P-215, February, 2006

The goal of this Joint Industry Project (JIP) is to identify, quantify and mitigate potential well integrity issues associated with subsalt and near-salt deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) reservoirs.

Seismic Evaluation of Hydrocarbon Saturation in Deepwater Reservoirs, DE-FC26-02NT15342, February, 2006.

This project develops and calibrates tools for better seismic identification of in-situ pore fluids and improve the ability to estimate hydrocarbon saturations.

Development and Manufacture of Cost Effective Composite Drill Pipe, DE-FC26-99FT40262, 1999 – 2008

The goal of this project is to accelerate the development of high performance, lightweight drill pipe to help exted drilling capabilities to greater depths onshore and into ultra-deep water offshore.  In addition, this project will attempt to increase the capabilities for short-radius drilling.

Dual Gradient Drilling System Using Glass Hollow Spheres, DE-AC26-02NT41641, February, 2003

The goal is to reduce the costs and risks of drilling in deep water by developing a relatively low-cost, yet reliable dual-gradient drilling (DGD) system that employs standard mud pumps to inject rugged, durable and removable lightweight hollow glass spheres into the drill riser at the seafloor, reducing the density of the drilling mud in the riser.  A subsequent reduction in the borehole pressure below the seafloor results, and the difference between the fracture gradient and borehole pressure widens.  This mitigates the possibility of lost circulation and other expensive problems, such as an environmental blowout and loss of well or life.