WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) Wednesday announced that the Petroleum Recovery Research Center (PRRC) at New Mexico Tech in Socorro will receive nearly $700,000 to continue developing a method to treat water that is produced in oil and gas production using solar energy.
‘Produced water’ flows to the surface during oil and gas drilling and often has high concentrations of salts and other contaminants that make it unusable and costly to dispose of safely.
“Oil and gas production is a major part of New Mexico’s economy and we are always looking for ways to reduce the environmental impacts, especially with respect to our limited water resources,” Udall said. “I am glad New Mexico Tech is working to solve this environmental challenge by using our abundant solar energy resources.”
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy selected nine new research programs aimed a extending the life of mature oil and natural gas fields while reducing the environmental footprint of production operations and minimizing environmental risks.
The funding for these projects derives from federal royalties from offshore oil production, as set forth in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.