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With the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program was established. Under contract with the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) was selected to manage this 10-year, $375 million program designed to enable the development of new technologies necessary to produce more secure, abundant and affordable domestic energy supplies. The Program was established to help meet the nation's growing need for hydrocarbon resources produced from reservoirs in America.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, RPSEA manages three program areas under this contract, Ultra-Deepwater, Unconventional Resources and Small Producer. Each program’s funding is set annually to invest in oil and gas research and development projects. The Ultra-Deepwater Program is $17.5 million, the Unconventional Resources Program is $16.25 million, and the Small Producer Program is $3.75 million. The funding of projects flows through requests for proposals issued, proposals submitted and projects selected as awards.

Through these awards, RPSEA succeeds in identifying, funding and facilitating the development of the most appropriate and necessary research to maximize the value of our nation’s domestic resources. This is through increasing supply, reducing cost, increasing efficiency of production and exploration, improving safety and minimizing environmental impacts.

This industry-led cooperative research and development network of natural gas and oil experts working together in an open, innovative framework provides an effective model for advancing our nation’s capability to find and produce the energy we need. Bridging the gap between industry needs and researchers’ solutions ensures a ready market for new technology that result in better solutions for industry-wide use. RPSEA is formed by a consortium of premier U.S. energy research universities, industry, independent research organizations and state and federal agencies.