The RPSEA project solicitation process is designed to ensure solicitation requests lead to proposals, awards and technology that support program goals. As described below, RPSEA has established a process whereby stakeholder input is incorporated into an Annual Plan that then serves as the basis for soliciting, evaluating and awarding research awards.
The solicitation process begins with strategic development activities lead by the RPSEA Board of Directors (BOD), who defines high-level program objectives. The BOD’s Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC), made up of both members and nonmembers from diverse organizations, ensures that industry needs are clearly identified.
The strategic objectives developed by the SAC guides the development of the draft Annual Plan. The draft Annual Plan will specifically define the areas of work to be pursued during the next 12 month period. The Vice Presidents of the three RPSEA programs work through the Program Advisory Committees (PACs) and other specialized Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) made up of both members and nonmembers to determine the priorities necessary to select project areas to execute. This selection forms the basis for the subsequent procurement solicitations and award of research projects.
After specific project areas have been prioritized from the Annual Plan development, the formal procurement solicitation process begins.
The requests for proposals (RFPs) will be advertised on the RPSEA website. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) website and other interested websites will have a link to the RPSEA website. The RPSEA link will have all necessary information on the public website for anyone who may apply. All RFPs will be competitive with full and open competition. Qualified bidders will be determined based on past experience and performance, technical expertise of personnel and other factors as appropriate. The RFPs will generally include standard pro forma contract information (standard templates can be located at: Standard Contract Documents page link) related to terms and conditions, required federal flow-down clauses from the Prime Department of Energy (DOE) contract, proposal submission instructions and reporting guidelines and project specific evaluation criteria and scoring values and weights. After the proposals have been submitted by the bidders, the PAC (and TACs as required) members will be required to perform technical evaluations on the proposals received. Evaluation criteria will be published with each RFP and will generally fall within the following areas:
Company qualifications to perform the selected work:
- The technical approach to accomplish the project;
- Who are the key personnel that will perform the project, and what are their credentials;
- Does this bidder perform work in a safe, environmentally friendly manner and provide quality deliverables;
- Do they take any exceptions to the contract terms and conditions;
- Cost share commitment; and,
- Any other applicable attributes related to a specific project. The results of proposal evaluations will determine which bidders will be recommended for selection by the RPSEA president and submitted to DOE/NETL for approval.
Unconventional Resources Program Selection Process
Proposals submitted for the Unconventional Resources Program are divided into topic areas (e.g. Completion, Reservoir Engineering, Resource Assessment, etc.) for review, in order to align the technical expertise and experience of reviewers with the content of the proposals. Three or more reviewers provide technical evaluations of the proposals within each topic area. To the greatest extent possible, all of the proposals within a topic area are evaluated by the same set of reviewers. The Unconventional Resources PAC selects proposals for funding based on the technical review scores and the priorities associated with the various topic areas and targeted resources. Prior to considering individual proposals, the PAC assigns priorities to each of the topic areas for each of the targeted resources (currently gas shales, tight sands and coalbed methane). The highest priority resource/topic area combinations are given the most weight in project selection, although all proposals with competitive technical review scores are considered for funding. The PAC considers factors such as balance among the time scales associated with technology and resource development, diversity of technical approach and the geographic distribution of targeted resources when developing a portfolio of projects intended to maximize the probability of meeting program goals.
Small Producer Program Selection Process
Proposals submitted for the Small Producer Program are evaluated by a Small Producer PAC (SPAC), consisting of representatives of small producers operating in various geographic areas, as well as academics and researchers with experience working with small producers on topics related to the program theme, currently advancing technology for mature fields. In addition to technical merit, alignment with program goals and capabilities of the proposer, the SPAC considers factors such as balance among technology time scales, diversity of technical approach and the geographic distribution of resources impacted when selecting projects intended to maximize the probability of meeting program goals.
Ultra-Deepwater Program Selection Process
Proposals submitted for the Ultra-Deepwater Program are evaluated by the Ultra-Deepwater TAC teams, consisting of both RPSEA members and non-RPSEA members. The TAC evaluation teams will score, summarize, apply program policy factors (as required) and come to a consensus before submitting the evaluation summary and award recommendation to the Ultra-Deepwater PAC and then the RPSEA president. Program policy factors may be used to differentiate between proposals with alternative technologies.
After RPSEA has made the bidder selection recommendations to DOE/NETL and authorization has been granted to make contract awards, RPSEA will finalize the awards with the selected bidder and issue subcontracts. However, the RPSEA solicitation process is not complete at this point. The process as designed has a significant feedback loop that evaluates cost, schedule and performance during the execution of the project. In order to ensure sustained continuity and connection to industry, RPSEA will also formulate technology transfer plans, develop commercialization actions through coordination with the PACs, communicate project results to the public/industry/academia through various forums, evaluate progress metrics to determine future actions and gauge progress towards strategic goals. All of this information is taken into account as the next solicitation cycle begins with revision of the Annual Plan.