Alternative Energy Technologies
Oil Reservoir & Environmental Technologies
The INL has strengths in environmental technology that relate not only to the Department of Energy (DOE) complex but to those in the fossil energy community. For example, the INL has evaluated possible health risks relating to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) that are commonly encountered in oil production facilities. The INL is developing technologies to treat such environmental problems as vadose zone accumulations of benzene, toluene, ethylene and xylene (BTEX). Another project is using the natural accumulation of selenium in plant materials to design wetlands for treating discharge waters. Simple low-cost bioreactors are being developed for treating produced water and gas in oil field and offshore platform environments for removal of sulfides.
The INL has completed a workshop on “Established Practices and Technologies for Petroleum Exploration and Production on Alaska’s North Slope” that is currently available. Additional workshops and a database related to Alaska North Slope are planned by DOE to expand the information available to the industry. These environmental activities have been funded by DOE Fossil Energy, the Gas Research Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, certain petroleum companies, and by internal funds.
Since 1991, the INL has prepared three major reports dealing with oil and gas resources on the Arctic North Slope for DOE. The latest report, "Economics of Alaska North Slope Gas Utilization Options," compares two options for marketing the 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Prudhoe Bay and Point Thomson fields. One option includes constructing an 800-mile gas pipeline (paralleling the existing oil pipeline), constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Alaska's southern shore, and transporting the LNG to Asian markets.
The other option includes constructing a gas-to-liquids plant on the North Slope in the Prudhoe Bay area and transporting the resulting liquid mixed with the crude oil down the existing oil pipeline to be marketed in North America as transportation fuels. Studies indicate that either option would be economical. Each has advantages. These studies will help DOE decide the direction of research. Industry has used the information in determining their future direction. Owing to its importance to the economy of the United States, every effort should be made to most effectively develop and produce oil and gas from that vast oil and gas resource on the sensitive North Slope of the United States.
Alaska North Slope Activities: