CITY, S.D. (April 10, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
and industry partner RESPEC announced today the launch of the Shale Research
Initiative funded by the State of South Dakota in the recently concluded
legislative session. Initial work will assess the feasibility of what would be
the nation’s first underground shale research laboratory.
The Shale Research Initiative will focus on a range of
experiments important to energy and the environment including enhanced energy
production, carbon dioxide sequestration, underground hydrocarbon storage and
waste disposal in shale.
The School of Mines, located in western South Dakota, is
equidistant from the Bakken, Mowry and Niobrara shale plays in the upper
School of Mines has expertise in underground engineering and geology as well as
energy and the environment. South Dakota is making a major investment in shale
research. Working with RESPEC as our industrial partner, we will work to expand
the research we are doing in this field for both government and private sector
sponsors,” said Heather Wilson, president of the South Dakota School of Mines
South Dakota Legislature recently approved $464,000 for continued study of shale
behavior and the feasibility of constructing an underground laboratory. Rep.
David Lust, R-Rapid City, who led the effort to fund the program, said, “South
Dakota is uniquely positioned to advance research in this area that is very
important to the energy industry and the nation.”
newly established state effort will fund drilling
and sampling of various shale units, conducting advanced laboratory testing of
and performing geo-mechanical analyses to investigate
initial design concepts for an underground shale laboratory.
In 2012, the School of Mines and RESPEC conducted initial shale
research funded by the Department of Energy through Sandia National Lab. The
School of Mines and RESPEC will continue jointly to pursue additional federally
sponsored research in this area to leverage the state investment.
Lance Roberts, RESPEC senior vice president, said, “There is
a lot of science to be done on the characterization of shale and its potential
for storage of hydrocarbons, enhanced oil recovery, and safe disposal of waste
in very deep repositories. Our partnership with the School of Mines helps
position South Dakota as a leader in the science of deep underground storage
and disposal in shale, and we look forward to continued work in the future.”
shale project is being led by William Roggenthen, Ph.D., Mines research
scientist, and Roberts, Ph.D. RESPEC is a Rapid City-based national engineering
consulting firm founded in 1969 by School of Mines faculty members. The company
employs more than 200 people and specializes in the mining and energy, water
and natural resources, and information technologies.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines
& Technology is a science and engineering research university located in
Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The
university enrolls 2,640 students from 45 states and 37 countries, with a
student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for graduates is
$62,400 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on
Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.