Oregon firm joins Wyoming university on research initiative

By Bob Moen, Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 28, 2015 at 3:01 p.m.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A scientific and technical instrument manufacturer is teaming up with the University of Wyoming on what officials say will be cutting-edge research to improve extraction of oil and gas.

The partnership between Portland, Oregon-based FEI and the university will focus on digital rock technology and research to gain a better understanding of oil and gas flow in unconventional and conventional oil and gas reservoirs so the minerals can be more efficiently removed. The research also will apply to storing carbon dioxide underground to prevent its release into the atmosphere, where it can exacerbate global warming.

FEI will provide state-of-the art equipment and software worth millions of dollars for UW researchers. The state will provide funding to match the value of the company's contribution. Altogether, the effort is estimated to be worth about $24 million.

Gov. Matt Mead and others announced the partnership Friday, saying the research to be done will be unique and benefit industry, the state of Wyoming, the nation and the world. "We're not going to be able to change market conditions, but we can change the technology in a real-world way," Mead said.

Mark Bashforth, FEI's vice president of oil and gas natural resources, said digital rock technology is a new way to analyze oil and gas in underground rock formations.

"It provides better, smarter answers faster, and in so doing, you can do things that you could never do before because you didn't have the money, or the time or the capability," Bashforth said. "The university has unique capabilities that they will be doing on the research side of things that will allow them to do experiments to get a better understanding how to solve real ... problems in very challenging reservoirs."

The equipment from FEI will go to the university's Center of Innovation for Flow in Porous Media, which is part of a new research building being constructed on the Laramie campus in southeast Wyoming. The center's new facility is expected to open next summer.

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Bob Moen


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