MMS Awards 9 New Research Projects for TAR Program

The Minerals Management Service has awarded nine new research contracts for studies to improve Operational Safety and Engineering Research through its Technology Assessment and Research (TAR) Program. As part of MMS's responsibilities to regulate the offshore oil and gas industry, the TAR program funds research into operational safety, pollution prevention, and oil spill response and cleanup capabilities. Program research enables MMS managers to make better decisions in evaluating operational proposals and enables regulators to consider the latest technological advancements in enacting new regulations.

MMS issued a broad agency announcement asking for proposed study topics and subject areas for FY 2003 TAR program research projects. In response, 54 engineering firms, universities and private consultants submitted brief white papers. MMS professionals in the TAR program evaluated these proposals and selected 14 of them. Nine of those 14 proposals were ultimately selected to receive contracts from FY 2003 available funds.

The projects are funded through the TAR Program, established in the 1970's to ensure that industry operations on the Outer Continental Shelf incorporate the use of the Best Available and Safest Technologies (BAST), as subsequently required through the 1978 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act amendments. The new research efforts will provide needed engineering advice on drilling safety, well testing, cementing operations, coatings, integrity of high pressure–high temperature systems, and other topics.

The research contracts have been awarded to: West Engineering Services, Inc.; Det Norske Veritas; Cementing Solutions, Inc; MSL Services Corporation; Scandpower Risk Management, Inc.; BOMEL Engineering Consultants, Ltd.; and Colorado School of Mines, which received three contracts. Details of the research projects funded can be found in the attached factsheet.

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