RPSEA Resource V9N1 2014





New RPSEA President

President’s Perspective - Outgoing

President’s Perspective - Incoming

Welcome New RPSEA Members

Unconventional Resources Program Highlights

Small Producer Program Highlights

Ultra-Deepwater Program Highlights 

RPSEA 2015 Schedule of Events



NEW-PIC-James_Pappas-10-20-14.pngThe Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) Board of Directors has appointed James M. Pappas, P.E., to the position of President, effective June 1, 2014, following the resignation of Dr. Robert W. Siegfried II. James was Vice President Ultra-Deepwater Programs for RPSEA, and held the position since 2011. Prior to his employment at RPSEA, Mr. Pappas held various positions with Devon Energy, including Global Technology Coordinator, and drilling, completions, production, reservoir, and A&D engineering positions with Santa Fe Snyder, Fina, UPRC, and Amoco. He has served on several Boards including the Society of Petroleum Engineers (Production & Operations Technical Director), the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (Industry Director), University of Texas at Austin Engineering Advisory Board and Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering Department Advisory Board (Chair), and Subsea Tieback Forum Board (Chair). Mr. Pappas is the recipient of the Houston Area Engineer of the Year Award (2007), Texas Engineering Foundation Distinguished Engineer in Texas Award (2007), TSPE Engineer of the Year Award (2008), SPE Distinguished Member Award and SPE Distinguished Service Award (2012). He earned a BS in Chemistry with minors in Mathematics and Spanish and BS in Chemical Engineering in 1979 from The University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Tyler in 1993.

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Outgoing President Bob Siegfried

As many of you know, RPSEA’s role in managing the program funded through Section 999 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was slated to end on the sunset date of the program, September 30, 2014. As part of the bipartisan budget deal passed by Congress late in 2013, 2014 funding for our program was terminated. Through a significant effort of the part of DOE, administrative funding for 2014 was restored, although the number of research projects to be awarded in 2014 was decreased significantly due to the reduction in available R&D funding.

Our plan had been to work through the end of 2014 transitioning the management and administration of ongoing research projects to NETL. As a result of ongoing discussions with DOE, NETL and our Board of Directors, RPSEA now has the opportunity to remain engaged with the research program through the completion of all projects in 2016. While the bulk of the management and administrative tasks associated with the program will be transitioned to NETL, a reduced RPSEA staff will continue to maintain the industry engagement that is so critical to ensuring that the program technology has an impact on the responsible development of U.S. energy resources. There is no additional funding from DOE available to support this extension of responsibility, so it will be enabled only through reductions in 2014 costs made possible by the reduced number of new projects in 2014 and the accelerated transfer of administrative activities to NETL.

As RPSEA’s administrative responsibility for the Section 999 program is transferred to NETL during 2014, RPSEA will be reducing staff to the levels required. Personally, I had been thinking of exploring other options as the Section 999 program wound down, including spending more time with my family, so this seems like a good time to reduce our executive level staff and ask one of our very capable program area leaders to take on the additional responsibilities of president. The Board has asked our Ultra-deepwater VP, James Pappas, to assume that role, although my current responsibilities will be shared between James and our Onshore VP, Kent Perry.

I would like to thank each of our members for their support of RPSEA, and encourage much needed continuing support as James, Kent and our Board of Directors explore new opportunities for the unique network represented by RPSEA. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you, and I look forward to the opportunity for continued future interactions.

Best Regards,

Bob Siegfried

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New RPSEA President, James Pappas

Dear members:

It is my honor to be selected by our Board of Directors to serve you in this new role. I appreciate their confidence in me and willingness to place the overall management of this unique organization in my hands.

Let me start by thanking Bob Siegfried for his leadership, mentoring, trust, and friendship throughout our relationship these past few years. He has taught me much about this business and has allowed me to flourish and use my own style of management. Furthermore, Bob has encouraged me to continue to grow and learn, while all the time providing me with the solid foundation which my team has successfully used to deliver our message of progress and reduced risk through technological developments. It is clear that neither I nor my team would be as successful as we have been without Bob’s guidance. We will miss him and I know that I have big shoes to fill.

Bob: On behalf of the RPSEA staff and our members we sincerely thank you for putting your all into this job and organization. We wish you the best in whatever you plan to pursue and wherever you plan to go. From the bottom of our hearts we say WELL DONE!

That leads me to Kent Perry, who, as Vice President Onshore Programs, has been instrumental in managing them from the goal to improve hydrocarbon recoveries toward ensuring safety, environmental compliance, and reliability in so doing. Kent is like a rock: he persistently pushes with a goal in mind and refuses to stray until the job is done, and done well. As RPSEA transitions into its next phase, Kent will take on a few of Bob’s former responsibilities, thus allowing me to focus on others and continue to ensure that the Ultra-Deepwater Program receives proper attention.

Juggling these additional responsibilities will not be an easy task, but Kent and I are up to the challenge. Along with Wiley Wells, Vice President Contracting and Compliance, and Traci Gholson, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, we will continue to lead this organization and will work to provide high quality results in technological developments that will one day be used to safely provide hydrocarbon energy many years out. As the Section 999 Program winds down over the next couple of years, we are beginning to focus our efforts on other programs as described in the Vice Presidents’ perspectives columns in this newsletter.

The first order of business for our members is to pay your dues. These funds are necessary to sustain the RPSEA organization so that we can continue to provide you with high quality materials associated with our programs and to develop new, exciting, and relevant projects on your behalf. Please talk to your managers about the good work that we are doing, your involvement in projects of interest, and the importance of sustaining membership. And please ensure that those dues payments are made in a timely fashion!

Plans are for RPSEA to be around for many more years. We want you to be a part of us. Stick around and hold on for the ride!

Till next time,


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RPSEA thanks the new members for joining and asks that RPSEA members extend our new members a welcome and check out their services on the websites.


Bastion Technologies Inc. www.bastiontechnologies.com


Fugro Global Environmental and Ocean Services, Inc www.geos.com


Future Pipe Industries, Inc www.futurepipe.com

Quest Knight Enterprises www.questknightenterprises.com


SET Laboratories, Inc. www.setlab.com


Westcott & Washington www.westcottwashington.com


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Unconventional Resources

The RPSEA Unconventional Resources research program placed four new contracts addressing important environmental issues facing the industry with regard to development of onshore low permeability resources, in particular oil and gas shale formations.

The four projects include:

  • Utah State University – The objective of the project is to develop and utilize a sensitive, cost-effective method to characterize carbon dioxide, methane, and non-methane hydrocarbon emissions from area sources in the Utah Uintah Basin. 
  • Colorado School of Mines – A comprehensive look at the quantity and type of emissions in the DJ Basin that may be related to unconventional resource production efforts. 
  • University of Texas - The objective of this project is to determine the degree to which fracture systems induced prior to production form a network of connected flow pathways that access the surrounding matrix porosity.
  • University of Oklahoma - The objectives of this project are to understand the conditions in central Oklahoma that have increased the seismicity and potentially generated induced seismicity, via an innovative and highly integrated study of the geology, geophysics, reservoir and geo-mechanical conditions in the target area.

Technical Progress – Subcontractor Project Highlight

RPSEA Contract 11122-45

Advanced Analytical Methods for Air and Stray Gas Emissions and Produced Brine Characterization

GSI Environmental Inc., Austin, Texas

The project is developing protocols for sampling and analyzing for methane in groundwater, stray gas emissions and produced brine characterization. Each of these topics has been a topic of interest to the environmental community.

The procedure is to go to the field and test different technologies and methods for sampling and determine an acceptable protocol for sampling procedures.

The photo immediately below is a picture of the instrumentation at a farmstead in Pennsylvania where much of the testing for methane in groundwater is being conducted.

Pennsylvania Farmstead with testing equipment on water well

Results to date indicate the well purging is not an issue for collecting representative samples from water wells. This is likely due to the fact that most wells are in constant usage and thus are kept in a purged state. Several different water sampling techniques are being evaluated with results showing a significant difference in the amount of methane measured in water sampled based on the technique utilized. This understanding will be important to for determine an accurate sampling procedure.

Schematic of Typical Water Well Design in Pennsylvania

Most water wells in Pennsylvania penetrate the fractured bedrock of the Catskill and Lock Haven Formations. Some draw from the shallower glacial till. Wells are primarily open hole completions, some may be grouted with others un-grouted. Sampling of the water is typically conducted from the faucet on the pressure tank.

Kent Perry, RPSEA, VP Onshore Programs 

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Small Producer

Small Producer Program Goal

Small Producers contribute a significant percentage of the oil and gas that is used by our Nation’s economy. However, because of their size, they do not have access to the research and development that in some cases is necessary to ensure that they’re producing at the highest levels of safety and environmental sustainability.

The goal of the Small Producer Program is to address the unique challenges of small producers. Small producer is defined in Section 999G of EPAct as an entity organized under the laws of the United States with production levels of less than 1,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent.

The goal of this program is to carry out research, development, and demonstration efforts that will assist small producers in reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of exploration and production while operating safely and in a manner which does not harm the environment.

  1. Specific goals of the Small Producer Program are:
  2. Reduce Environmental Impacts from Small Producer Operations
  3. Mitigate Environmental Impacts in Mature
  4. Extend Economic Life of Mature Fields Through Environmentally Safe Efficiency
  5. Production and Operational Improvements
  6. Improve Recovery

Completed and Ongoing Studies
There are a total of 33 projects that are under contract to RPSEA. 18 of the projects have been completed while 15 are still on-going.

Subcontractor Project Highlight

Project 11123-15: Hybrid Rotor Compression for Multiphase and Liquids-Rich Wellhead Production Applications

Prime Contractor: OsComp Systems Inc.

This project has been completed and the final report will soon be available on the RPSEA website, www.rpsea.org.

OsComp Systems received Subaward number 11123-15 through RPSEA’s Small Producer Program to continue development of a wet gas compressor technology. The project commenced in January 2013 and concluded in September 2014.

The focus of the project was to develop and test OsComp’s new compression technology. The technology can best be explained by focusing on three aspects— thermodynamics, mechanical design, and multiphase capabilities. The thermodynamics of compression are such that gas heats up as it is compressed. The hotter the gas gets, the harder it becomes to compress, which further leads to more and more heat generation. This effect realistically limits most compressor technologies to compression ratios of 5:1. OsComp has developed a cooling technology in which an atomized liquid coolant is injected directly into the compression chamber. The manner of injection results in extremely rapid heat transfer from the gas to the liquid, keeping the gas cool. This cooling effect not only makes the compression process more efficient, but also allows compression ratios of 40:1 or higher.

Conventional compression equipment is not capable of utilizing this type of cooling technology because liquids cannot be tolerated in the compression chamber. OsComp’s unique hybrid rotary design allows liquids to be swept out of the compression chamber, eliminating the hydrolock conditions seen with liquids in traditional compressors. This unique mechanical design not only enables the thermodynamic enhancements, but also allows for compression of wet gas, or gas that contains liquid content.

At many natural gas wellheads, liquids—typically heavier hydrocarbons and water—are present in the gas stream. In fact, with the recent pricing trends with natural gas and other hydrocarbons, wet gas is actually more desirable to producers due to the higher value of the liquid hydrocarbons. However, since traditional compressors cannot accommodate liquids, the gas and liquid have to be separated at the wellhead and dealt with separately. This presents significantly higher costs to operators. With OsComp’s technology, the gas and liquid can go directly from the wellhead through the compressor and on to a single multiphase pipeline, leading to a centralized processing facility and dramatically lower costs.

Over the course of this 21 month project, the OsComp team has developed two successive prototypes of its compressor technology, each improving on the last. The first prototype developed under this project, known as “unit 2”, was designed and built at the start of the project, coming online for testing in May 2013. Testing of the unit verified the conceptual breakthroughs of the design, with multiphase flows being successfully accommodated and the cooling technology working well. However, some design issues were encountered, leading to the decision that additional lab testing would need to be conducted before entering into field trials and that a new design would need to be completed to correct for some of the issues experienced with unit 2.

The unit 3 design was developed over the fall of 2013 and built through the winter, coming online for testing in April 2014. Unit 3 initially appeared much more robust than unit 2, performing well in early tests and continuing to show further proof of the technological breakthroughs inherent to the design. However, issues with reliability continued to plague the testing efforts, with tests under more extreme conditions or for extended time periods typically leading to some type of failure. It was determined that the complexity of the system was too high to expect to be able to improve on this performance when only testing at a full system level, so a new plan of component and subsystem level testing was put into place.

This component level testing proved to be very successful, with many more hours of testing successfully completed and performance improved on several critical subsystems. Testing at the component level will continue after the culmination of the RPSEA subcontract, with plans for further units and eventual field trials and commercialization to follow.

A deep understanding of the challenges associated with developing a breakthrough industrial machinery technology has been developed over the course of the project. While the project did not progress as far as initially scoped, the current understanding of the problem allows for a much more accurate prediction of future success of the development. The team remains confident in a successful outcome, with private funding in place to help continue development into the future.


Schematic of OsComp compression process

Charlotte Schroeder, RPSEA Small Producer Program

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The Ultra-Deepwater Program Technical Advisory Committee evaluators recommended 11 awards from the final Section 999 UDW solicitation. The UDW Program Advisory Committee then prioritized those proposals and recommended eight awards based on remaining available Federal funds. Proposals for the three remaining recommended projects were placed on hold pending successful subcontract negotiations with the top eight bidders. The Department of Energy reviewed RPSEA’s recommendation and approved the eight projects for selection. We successfully negotiated the initial eight subcontracts with the project bidders and notified all remaining bidders of their status.

As noted in the President’s message, RPSEA plans to continue to oversee the technical portions of the Section 999 projects. More specifically, for the UDW Program the current RPSEA Project Managers are transferring most project management responsibilities to one of several NETL Project Manager counterparts in an orderly fashion. This transfer of responsibilities will continue thru yearend. However, RPSEA will continue to manage the Program Advisory Committees, Technical Advisory Committees, and each project’s Working Project Group for the remainder of the program. We will also be responsible for the technical quality of the technical deliverable items for each project, including reports and presentation materials.

As a result of these actions, RPSEA will require carry over funds to support technical management support through 2016. To help ensure that sufficient funds are available, we worked with NETL to accelerate the project management transfer and will ramp down our other responsibilities rather steeply over the next few months.

Meanwhile, we remain in contact with the Ocean Energy Safety Initiative (OESI) management and have negotiated a contract with Texas A&M University that will allow RPSEA to manage some of its related industry initiatives. RPSEA is also developing several joint industry partnerships that are follow on initiatives to Section 999 UDW projects, and we continue to seek other opportunities to engage industry in technology driven projects.

RPSEA, an Offshore Technology Conference supporting organization, was heavily involved in the OTC this past May. We held three technical sessions, sponsored by the Marine Technical Society, and participated in a panel session about funding new technologies.

Since February several Ultra-Deepwater projects completed, and their Technical Reports can be found on our website:

We terminated two subcontracts due to a loss of industry support and funding:

  • 08121-2301-01: Deepwater Open Water Riser Intervention System, lead by DTC International
  • 09121-3500-07: Deepwater Subsea Test Tree and Intervention Riser System, lead by DTC International

Other Publications since the last newsletter include the following:

We also participated in several events:

  • Subsea Tieback Forum in San Antonio
  • SPE International Conference on HS&E in Long Beach
  • SPE Flow Assurance Systems Management in Houston
  • SPE Process Safety/NAE/NAS Report review to the OESC in Houston
  • Annual AAPG Conference in Houston
  • Ocean Energy Safety Initiative Risk Forum in Houston
  • Offshore Technology Conference in Houston
  • June RPSEA Technical Advisory Committee Meetings in Sugar Land for each of our six TACs
  • Ocean Energy Safety Initiative Barriers to Data Sharing Forum in Houston
  • RPSEA Ultra-Deepwater Technology Conference in Houston
  • International Association of Drilling Contractors Advanced Rig Technologies Conference in Galveston
  • Det Norse Veritas Arctic Technology Challenges Workshop in Houston
  • RPSEA Metocean Technical Advisory Committee Meeting in September in Houston

We plan to hold our next UDW Technical Advisory Committee Meetings in Sugar Land and Houston during the week of January 19, 2015. To register for any one of these events please visit the RPSEA online calendar.

The only thing that is constant is change. Be safe …

Till next time,

James Pappas, RPSEA, President, Director UDW Program

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RPSEA thanks the new members for joining and asks that RPSEA members extend our new members a welcome and check out their services on the websites.

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RPSEA kicks off 2015 with the 1st round of Ultra-Deepwater Technical Advisory Committee Meetings in January.

TAC Schedule

All meeting except Metocean will be held at the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Center, Board Room in Sugarland. Lunch will be served for all participants each day.

Flow Assurance January 20 10:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Subsea Systems January 20 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Drilling, Completions and Interventions January 21 7:30 AM- 12:45 PM
Environmental, Safety and Regulatory January 21 7:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Geosciences & Reservoir Engineering January 21 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Metocean (Chevron, Bellaire office) January 22 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Floating Facilities and Risers & Systems Engineering January 22 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Small Producers Schedule

Onshore Production workshops are planned for March, June and September, 2015—locations and dates to be determined.

Ultra Deepwater Schedule

The 2nd round of TAC meetings will be held in Sugarland and Houston, TX in June 2015.
The UDW Annual Technology Conference will be held in September, 2015 in the Houston area.

Exhibits Schedule

Visit RPSEA at our Booth at the following annual conference and exhibits

March 3-5 Subsea Tieback Forum & Exhibition New Orleans, LA
May 4-7 Offshore Technology Conference Houston, TX
May 31-June 3 AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition Denver, CO
July 20-22 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference San Antonio, TX
August 24-27 Rocky Mountain Energy Conference (COGA) Denver, CO
September 28-30 SPE Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition Houston, TX
October 18-22 SEG International Exhibition & Annual Meeting New Orleans, LA
December TBD CO2 Annual Conference Midland, TX
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