Exploring for Information at GTI/IPAMS Information Center

Title: Exploring for Information at GTI/IPAMS Information Center
Author: Ann Priestman
Publication: The Outcrop, July 2003, p. 1, 6-7

Libraries, aka Information Centers, aka Knowledge Resource Centers, have become dinosaurs in today’s oil and gas companies in the Rockies. The closing of Marathon’s Research Center in Littleton 2 years ago marked the end of oil and gas company libraries in Denver, to my knowledge. Denver is fortunate to have the USGS and Colorado School of Mines (CSM), plus the additional resources of DERL (Denver Earth Resources Library) and Herrold’s Geologic Research Library. These libraries all have great resources, but budgets everywhere are tight and each institution is down to bare bones for personnel and are adding few new publications.

Information Center History

Unknown to many, a hidden gem to others, the GTI/IPAMS Information Center (formerly GRI Information Center, formerly Natural Gas Supply Center) is a library that provides information and through years of experience, collection, and selection based on client requests has acquired and distributes valuable knowledge, all available for no fee. The Gas Research Institute established four Information Centers in the late 1980s to help disseminate to the industry the published results from their research efforts. There were centers housed at universities in Marietta, Ohio; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Houston, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. The original Natural Gas Supply Center in Denver was located at the Arthur Lakes Library at CSM. As the industry’s needs changed the Marietta and Tuscaloosa Centers were closed and the Houston and Denver Centers were moved downtown to be nearer their users. The Centers were pared down to one professional librarian each and three years ago the Houston Center was closed. The Denver Information Center has thrived with minimal promotion for the last three years, due to its central location, eclectic collection, new products, Denver’s large number of independents and consultants, and GTI’s support.

GTI History

By the year 2020, about 40% of U.S. gas supply will depend on the availability of new technology, according to GTI’s 2002 annual report. GTI has more than 60 years of experience in technology development and training and more than 800 patents. More than 400 products incorporating GTI-developed technology have been introduced. The FERC-funded program, which initially supported GRI, will end December 31, 2004. While the Denver Information Center emphasis has been on energy supply, GTI’s other critical technology and market areas include efficient energy use, clean energy systems (utilizing hydrogen, for example), and a resilient energy infrastructure.

GTI’s expanded energy supply goal is to meet growing demand at affordable prices and to reduce reliance on imported fuels. Our initial research included advanced stimulation technology applications, successful drilling practices, surface logging measurement and analysis techniques, fracture treatment optimization methods, infield natural gas reserve growth strategies, advanced seismic technologies, produced water treatment and disposal options, and coalbed methane production technologies. GTI’s areas of technical expertise in energy supply include gas processing, gas hydrates, liquefied natural gas (LNG), unconventional natural gas, field drilling and completion, and gasification of coal, biomass and other solid fuels.

GTI/IPAMS Information Center

In 2002, the Information Center, which was in jeopardy of closing, was combined with GTI’s Regional Technology Transfer program in conjunction with IPAMS (Independent Petroleum Association of the Mountain States). Imminent closure was postponed but our main hope for continuation is the passing of an Energy bill with an R&D portion for research into unconventional resources. In April, the House passed The Energy Policy Act, HR-16, that would allocate 7.5% of the money from royalties collected on federal oil and gas leases after distributions (which now goes to the ‘general fund’), to the “Ultra Deep and Unconventional Natural Gas Research Fund.” Approximately 67.5% of that money would be allocated for ultra-deep, Gulf of Mexico research, 22.5% for onshore unconventional research, and 10% to the research conducted by NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory). The Senate currently speculates the R&D cost is too high, not recognizing that new technologies mean more production, more taxes, less footprint, more jobs and less reliance on foreign supply. The Senate Bill HR-14 has yet to be passed. Once passed, the bill will go to conference then back to each division for final changes. Hopefully this will occur before the end of the session, when politics will start for the next election. Without this research ability, GTI will cut our funding since their FERC funding is ending in 2004.

Resources

GTI Information Center can help you make informed decisions, have the right information, and leverage your time. Information sources cover a variety of producing resources including conventional, gas shale, coalbed methane, and tight gas sand reservoirs. GRI report topics include geosciences, drilling, well stimulation and completion, and reserve appreciation. You’ll also find reports covering reservoir characterization, field operations, supply and demand projections, quality control, and environmental implications of producing and processing natural gas. Our unique sources include: published and unpublished GTI research reports, on-line subscription databases (GeoRef, Petroleum Abstracts, Dialog, Dow Jones and SPE), industry directories, industry periodicals (AAPG Bulletin and Explorer, Hart’s E&P and Oil and Gas Investor, American Oil and Gas Reporter, HIS Rocky Mountain Coalbed Methane Report, International Journal of Coal Geology Oil and Gas Journal, Rocky Mountain Oil Journal and Association newsletters), general oil and gas reference collection, Industry Proceedings (Tuscaloosa International Coalbed Methane Conference, SPE, local conferences and workshops) and a professional librarian, with a Master in Library Science, who provides literature searches, prepares bibliographies and company profiles, acquires competitive intelligence, and conducts general research.

For added value we distribute an electronic weekly “Denver Energy Update” that provides information on local and national meetings, current market oil and gas prices and rig counts. Monthly for the last two years we have published electronically the “Coalbed Natural Gas Alert,” providing the community with the latest information, data and resources for the coalbed natural gas industry. Contact Ann Priestman to be added to the distribution list.

One of our best testimonials was from one of the founders of Ultra Petroleum, who remarked how much the information we provided from GTI documents and other research helped develop and prove the theories and prospects that helped launch the start-up company. Years later the company produces a large quantity of natural gas, employs many people, and pays state and federal taxes. The most ironic testimonial was from a client who remarked, when I asked him what he would be willing to pay for our services, that he would never pay a librarian for something. He still uses our services for free!

What’s the prognosis for the GTI Information Center? If GTI retires the Information Center, will it be missed? Is there a need for a research center? Should we try to collaborate and have strategic alliances with other organizations, groups or institutions? How can you help? If you have never used our resources, give us call or stop by to see what we can offer. Volunteer to help establish and participate on an advisory board to determine the direction of the Information Center. We have the capability of serving as your in-house library/research center but need your participation. Contact Ann Priestman, 518 17th Street, Suite 610, Denver, CO 80202.

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