TABLE 7.15 Approximate Percentages of Expenditures Keyed to the Research Framework of the Federal Agencies for Fiscal Year 1990a

 

Objectives

Research Areas

A. Understand Processes

B. Sustain Sufficient Resources—Water, Minerals, Fuels

C. Mitigate Geological Hazards—Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides

D. Minimize Global and Environmental Change—Assess, Mitigate, Remediate

I. Global Paleoenvironments and Biological Evolution

2

< 1

<1

1

II. Global Geochemical and Biogeochemical Cycles

4

20

1

III. Fluids in and on the Earth

2

12

<1

3

IV. Crustal Dynamics: Ocean and Continent

19

22

4

6

V. Core and Mantle Dynamics

4

<1

 

a  

One percent of the total of $1,368 million is about $13 million (see Appendix A).

physics, and geochemistry. Likewise, so has the mining industry. It is hard to assign a meaningful dollar cost to all this research. A rough guide might be this: the seismic-exploration industry worldwide is expected to rise to about $5 billion by the mid-1990s. If about 1 percent of this sum goes to related earth science research, industry support would be about $50 million. Other estimates indicate that $100 million to $275 million is expended annually on oil and gas research in the United States in both the public and the private sectors. Although most of the research is in-house, both mining and petroleum industries historically have supported research projects conducted in university departments and have collaborated in research with federal agencies (e.g., Bureau of Mines and DOE).

Mining industry support of university research typically involves funding graduate-student field or laboratory work, summer or interim employment of graduate students, consulting arrangements with faculty, and direct grants. During the fiscal decline of the mining industry in the early and mid-1980s, this support diminished considerably as companies cut back on research and exploration activities and on geoscientific personnel. In recent years a growing proportion of the supported research has been in the area of low-temperature, heavy metal geochemistry—a reflection of concern about waste management. At the same time, support for basic research in ore-forming processes and igneous petrology has declined.

The petroleum industry currently supports university research through granting foundations in the form of doctoral and master's fellowships, direct faculty support, and grants for equipment and laboratories. At the same time, many companies are providing support directly through their research and operating subsidiaries, either through membership in industrial consortia or direct funding of research by faculty and students. Additional research funding is handled by trade associations, such as the American Petroleum Institute and the American Gas Association. The industry-supported Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society has played an important role for decades. A wide variety of university programs have been encouraged through these means, ranging from basic research in petrology, paleontology, and sedimentology to technologies for reservoir characterization, enhanced oil recovery, and seismic signal processing. Petroleum industry support of environmental research is growing. Particular emphasis is being placed on disposal of solid and liquid wastes and groundwater management.

The main thrust of oil and gas company research is naturally toward the development of technology and science that may be directly applied to exploration for and development of oil and gas. If an application cannot be defined, support for a research project is unlikely to be granted. It should be noted, however, that a surprising number of research programs pursued by industry have led to significant bodies of fundamental knowledge that in turn have



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