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The University of Wyoming announced said Tuesday that $2 million would fund construction of the 81,000-square-foot UW High Bay Research Facility in Laramie, which will contain labs where large-scale experiments will take place.
Halliburton also is funding $1 million for research into unconventional oil and natural-gas reservoirs, which include oil from shale formations and coal-bed methane gas that are produced using unconventional methods, including hydraulic fracturing. Halliburton’s support will be doubled to $6 million through state of Wyoming matching dollars and the UW School of Energy Resources research matching funding.
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The announcement was made during a news conference in Cheyenne. Speakers included Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead; UW President Dick McGinity and Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar.
The research facility’s labs include a digital rock physics lab, geomechanics lab and structural engineering lab, along with the supporting facilities and personnel to manage the facility.
“Halliburton is proud to work with the University of Wyoming to provide a state-of-the-art teaching environment for the next generation of engineers, including the UW students who may join us in the future,” Lesar said in a statement. “We believe that the UW High Bay Research Facility will enable academic excellence and provide students with the necessary education to help find solutions for global energy demands.”
With Halliburton’s support of the High Bay Research Facility, Halliburton and UW will partner to perform fundamental research on critical aspects of unconventional reservoir development.
“The High Bay will allow us to accelerate research that promises to make energy more abundant everywhere in the world. UW is grateful to industry partners such as Halliburton, and to Wyoming’s governor and legislators, for enabling UW to achieve a leading role in energy research worldwide.” McGinity said.
The High Bay Research Facility is one of two future construction projects planned to upgrade facilities for UW’s energy and engineering research and academic programs. The High Bay Research Facility will enhance UW’s research capacity in strategic energy areas, while a major renovation and expansion of the Engineering Building near the heart of the UW campus will provide a much-needed upgrade to existing facilities.
The High Bay Research Facility is funded by $15 million in private donations and another $15 million appropriation from the Wyoming Legislature. UW has raised nearly $13 million toward the goal of $15 million from Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL), Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE RDS.A) to construct and equip the facility.
UW said it has confirmed a final gift of $2 million to complete its major fundraising drive and will announce the contribution soon.
Both the High Bay Research Facility and the Engineering Building projects are tied to the work of the Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force, which recently released its plan for strengthening education and research in areas that can contribute directly to Wyoming’s economy and the well-being of its citizens.
UW’s strategic plan for energy programs focuses on three areas: unconventional reservoirs, climbing the value chain and renewable resources. “Climbing the value chain” means adding steps in Wyoming’s chain of natural gas production and coal production to mitigate boom-and-bust cycles. Research into renewable resources includes increasing efficiency so that such resources are more cost effective.