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International studies in earth science and technology are an important adjunct to the domestic research and investigations of the USGS. Authorization for foreign investigations is provided by the Organic Act, the Foreign Assistance Act, and related legislation. Activities are conducted under bilateral or multilateral agreements that require approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of State. In the theme areas of hazards, resources, environment, and information, domestic research objectives are expanded and advanced through comparative studies of the geology, hydrology, and topography of other countries. Information about existing and potential foreign resources of interest to public and private sectors in the United States is obtained through collaborative research and is incorporated into databases that are worldwide in scope. USGS international activities futher the foreign policy objectives of the Department of State—for example, by revitalizing the earth sciences in central and eastern Europe. International programs of other Federal agencies, academia, and the private sector are supported as well through international activities. Training programs for foreign scientists lead to technology exchange that directly benefits the U.S. private sector. Fostering cooperative relationships with foreign counterpart earth science institutions facilitates technology transfer, data exchange, and the creation of research partnerships in areas of mutual interest that benefit all of the participating nations.
Opening New Doors to Scientific Cooperation and Exploration for Energy Resources in the Former Soviet Union
he immense territory of the former
Soviet Union, which spans almost 12 time zones, contains keys to a large part of the Earth's geologic history and huge resources of oil, gas, and coal. For decades, much of this
part of the world was closed to Western scientists interested in cooperative geoscience stud
ies. With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, many parts of the newly independent states have become accessible to the Western World, not only for joint research efforts but also for commercial ventures in exploring for and producing energy resources. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) currently has cooperative energy projects in five countries of the former Soviet Union. These projects cover a broad spectrum of activities to assess and characterize energy resources, provide technical assistance to improve the efficiency of exploration and development of these resources, and develop data sets and other information to help these countries attract international investment. USGS activities in Russia, Armenia, the Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan are supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through a service agreement to provide technical assistance in the area of oil, natural gas, and coal resources. USGS research in Kazakhstan is supported by a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with U.S. and European petroleum companies (see “Technology Transfer and Outreach: The USGS at Work with Industry,” p. 78). Russia.-In 1994, USGS scientists began a 3-year cooperative program with several research institutes of the Russian State Committee on Geology and the Use of Underground Resources (ROSKOMNEDRA). The overall goals are (1) to improve the ability of Russian and U.S. petroleum geologists (in both the public and private sectors) to communicate in mutually understandable terms and concepts, (2) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the exploration programs
of the Russian petroleum industry and to encourage participation by the U.S. private sector, and (3) to make available to the U.S. petroleum industry a considerable quantity of exploration data not previously available to the West. Under the program, the USGS will train Russian specialists, procure equipment, and provide the technical design to establish five petroleum technology facilities at Russian research institutes. Three centers will be established in ROSKOMNEDRA research institutes in the city of Moscow. These centers will specialize in seismic data processing; the geochemical analysis of oil, natural gas, and organic matter extracted from petroleum source rocks; and the digitization of petroleum-related geologic information for conversion to geographic information system formats. A second seismic data processing center and a geochemical laboratory will be established at ROSKOMNEDRA institutes in Tyumen, West Siberia.
... the USGS will train Russian specialists, procure equipment, and provide the technical design to establish five petroleum technology facilities at Russian research institutes.
The products of this program will include: • A digitized base map of petroleum basins at a scale of 1:5,000,000. • Digitized geologic and topographic maps of Russia at a scale of 1:2,500,000, with an accompanying cadastre (database) of oil, gas, coal, and mineral deposits. • Regional seismic profiles from key Russian petroleum basins, reprocessed from the original Russian data by using modern processing software. • Geochemical analyses characterizing the source-rock potential of significant Russian oil and gas basins and incorporation of these data into petroleum basin models and exploration strategies. These products, together with other data produced by the petroleum technology
Map of the former Soviet Union showing Russia, Armenia, the Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
centers, will also be used to support several cooperative research projects involving USGS and Russian specialists. These projects will contribute to a better understanding of the amounts and distribution of oil and gas resources in the principal petroleumproducing basins of the Russian Federation. During the first stage of this program, project scientists from the USGS and ROSKOMNEDRA will concentrate their efforts in the Timan-Pechora Basin, which is located in northern Russia just west of the northern Ural Mountains. This petroleumrich basin is one of the most favorable regions for oil and gas exploration in Russia and should attract the attention of international petroleum companies. Using this basin as an example, collaborative research will demonstrate how modern equipment and methodologies can provide new insights in petroleum geology and improve the efficiency of oil and gas exploration.
Armenia.-Armenia is an ancient country rich in historical, cultural, and natural resources. However, with the exception of hydropower and nuclear power, Armenia's energy resources were not extensively developed while it was part of the Soviet Union owing to the availability of inexpensive imported sources of energy, such as natural gas and residual fuel oil. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia's subsequent war with Azerbaijan, and the resulting cutoff of energy supplies, Armenia has suffered major energy shortages that have reached crisis conditions each winter since 1991–92.
Responding to the acute need to assess the nation's energy resources, the Armenian Ministry of Mineral Resources began a coal exploration program that included mapping, exploratory trenching and excavation, core drilling, and geochemical analyses. To support this program, the USGS, with support from USAID, conducted a preliminary